Basics in Haitian Cuisine/ Dinner/ Seafood

How to clean and marinate fish

Finally finally finally it is here… You asked me to show you how I clean and marinate fish and to be honest I actually didn’t know how to do it and I was never a huge fish fan. But because of this journey that I am on I knew I had to do it.

What have I learned about this process?? I got sick while cleaning the fish, the smell of it didn’t agree with my body. During filming I had to put the fish down and take a break from it. When I say sick I mean I was a little nauseous but I didn’t let that stop me, after my break I got back up and finished filming the video so you better appreciate it LOL.

When buying the fish ask them to clean it for you in which they will cut off part of the tail,  the fins, remove 90% of the scales and the guts. Keep in mind that some places will clean the fish better than others, the fish market where my mother and I get fish is really really good at cleaning the fish. That minimizes the time you will spend cleaning it at home.


This is how much the fish cost on this particular day, it fluctuates throughout the year… I find it to be pretty expensive, but that’s me LOL.

Watch me clean and marinate fish here:

Print Recipe
Cooking Time: 30 minutes


  • 2.5 lbs red snapper (2 pieces of fish)
  • 2 lemons, reserve the juice of one
  • ½ cup epis
  • 1 bouillon cube, cut into 2 halves
  • ½ cup white distilled vinegar
  • ⅛ cup salt
  • ½ teaspoon salt



Pour vinegar and salt on top of fish and mix


Remove remaining scales with the tip of a small paring knife by scraping across the entire fish if you don't see anything coming off you could be scraping in the direction that the scales are laying, change the direction. When scraping don't be heavy handed to minimize the amount of scales flying everywhere.


Remove the remains of the gills and any veins that were left inside where the guts were.


Place 3 cuts into each fish on both sides to make 6 in total for each fish. This will ensure that your marinade (epis) gets into the fish.


Rinse fish with cold water to remove any remaining scales and blood.


Add lemon juice, epis to each fish making sure to push it into the slits and inside the fish. Use one half of a bouillon cube for each fish, crush with fingers and sprinkle on outside and inside of fish. Distribute ½ teaspoon of salt between both fish.


Allow to marinate for at least an hour.


One thing you should take into consideration when venturing out to clean fish is that your hands will definitely smell like fish when you're done. My mom told me to just rub lemon all over my hands and wash with soap like normal; I also saw a YouTube video saying the same thing… my experience was that my hands still smelled like fish after doing that. I say that to say... WEAR GLOVES LOL!

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