This Indo-West Pacific fish is common from the Persian Gulf to Papua New
Guinea and along the north coast Australia. It enters freshwater during
the breeding season so it's sometimes listed as a freshwater fish. It can
grow to 6-1/2 feet but the photo specimen was 13 inches and weighed
11 ounces. This fish is highly commercial, both wild catch and
aquaculture, and frozen ones from Vietnam are found in Asian markets in
Los Angeles. Packages I've purchased were labeled "Threadfin Bream" which
they clearly are not.
This is an excellent eating fish with mostly white flesh of good flavor. It is excellent for frying, baking and steaming, though I prefer it fried skin-on with a light dusting of rice flour and salt.
Fourfinger Threadfin is completely covered with small scales that scrape off easily. There are no special problems in cleaning except that you may have to use long nose pliers to pull the gills from smaller fish.
Filleting is easy, though smaller fish could be fried whole or pan dressed. You can shave the fillet off rib cage with very little flesh left behind - when you get to the tips of the ribs just pull the fillet off. There will be a few centerline spines worth pulling depending on the size of the fish. Yield is good with a 13 inch 11 ounce fish yielding 6 ounces of fillet (54%). The fillet weight is skin-on because I see no reason to skin this fish.
While the skin is easily removed using the standard long knife and cutting board technique there is no reason to do so. Skin shrink in frying is minimal and the skin is thin with no strong flavor. The heads, fins and bones make an excellent fish stock for soups with very little oil.
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