I visited Alaska with my family a few years ago, and one of the highlights of the trip was salmon fishing with a local fisherman. We watched as he quickly filleted a salmon right on the docks with an Inupiat-style ulu—a small, almost semi-circular, wooden-handled blade—and were so intrigued that the next day we visited the ulu factory. Traditionally made from slate with a wooden or bone handle, the ulu has been used for centuries by Inuit women for everything from skinning animals to household tasks, and is still widely used in Alaska today. It’s perfect for filleting, but also great for chopping; the center of force lies directly behind the blade and the shape creates a rocking motion when you chop, making an extremely efficient and comfortable tool to use. Since the trip, the ulu knife has become a vital part of our kitchen tool box, especially during summers spent at our beach house in the Florida Keys—at the end of a glorious day of fishing off the coast, out comes the ulu to handle filleting. We love ours so much that it’s become a go-to housewarming gift.
Alaska Flag Inupiat Style Ulu, $17.95 at Amazon.com