By Montana Grant

Posted: September 4, 2021

It is important to not waste any of the most delicious parts of a fresh caught fish. Fish Cheeks and Wings are two, often overlooked appetizing treats.

Let’s start with Fish Wings. These unique cuts come off the fishes front pectoral fins. To filet them off, use a sharp filet knife. Turn the fresh fish onto its back and make a perpendicular cut behind the fins. Now turn the knife blade flat and saw toward the fish’s chin. You want to exit the fish at the apex between the two gills, by the chin. Depending upon the species, you may want to scale first. Using scissors or shears may be needed on larger fish.

Most people just keep and eat the side filets of a fish. Each part of the fish has a unique flavor. Once you try the fish wings, they will never go to waste.

The Cheeks are where you suspect them to be. Bigger fish have bigger cheeks. They are especially pronounced on species like walleyes and Halibut.

I prefer to fry these treats in oil. Use a dry rub and fry. Take the rub coated fish and dredge into an egg wash, then into flour. You can also add them to soups and stir-fry. You can also steam the wings and cheeks and serve more as a rare sushi appetizer.

These smaller filets are great in a fish dip, soup, or as tooth picked appetizers. Make a quick tartar, Ranch, or Tiger Sauce dipping sauce.

Some fish have Consumption warnings. This means that toxins or pollution may be in the fish. Theses toxins are normally found around fins, fat, and bones. A thorough soak and rinse will help remove any health concerns. Here’s a way to remove most toxins, scum, and unwanted yeech from your filets.

  • Mix 3 tbsp. of table salt and 2 tbsp. of baking soda into 1 gallon of cold water
  • Submerge the cleaned/fileted fish into the solution. You can hold them down with a plate.
  • Refrigerate 4-6 hours
  • Rinse with cold water and drip dry on paper towels
  • Once you sweeten your filets, cheeks and wings, you will never not Sweeten them.

A fun way to present Fish Wings is to add some sauce to a shot glass and dip in a Fish Wing! Simple, quick, and tasty.

Enjoy some fresh cheeks and wings after your next fishing trip!

Montana Grant

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