Different Cuts of Fish: Which Should I Buy?
When you walk up to a seafood counter, you might notice different types of fish cuts, from boneless fish fillets to meaty steaks with the bone inside. Much like pork and beef, there are many ways to butcher fish. How a fish is cut impacts its taste and cook time. If you want to enjoy the full flavor of fish, you may prefer cuts with the bone in. If a fast cook time is more important, you may like thin cuts that cook quickly. Learning the difference will help you find the perfect cut for your next seafood entree. We’ve made this Fish Cut Types Guide to help you.
Fish Cut Types Guide
The most popular cut of fish is the fillet or filet. Fish are filleted by cutting the meat away from the bone along the length of the fish. One of the reasons why this cut is so popular is because fillets are thinner and boneless. Fish fillets typically cook faster than thicker cuts like steaks or loins. You can often choose between two types of fillets: skin-off and skin-on.
Portions are uniform, rectangular cuts of a fillet. Since they are cut from a fillet, they are also boneless. Fillet portions are ideal for fish fingers or fish tacos. The pieces leftover, when you cut a fillet into portions, are called “off-cuts.” Off-cuts are ideal for seafood pasta or chowder.
Butterfly Fish Fillet
Small freshwater fish are sometimes available in a butterfly fillet. A butterfly fillet is made up of two fillets connected by a backbone. All other bones, besides the spine, are removed. This cut allows you to enjoy a whole fish without the bones. Butterfly fillet also cooks faster than the entire fish because the meat has maximum contact with the pan.
Fish Steak or Darne
Many people use the words fillet and steak interchangeably, but fish steaks are very different. A fish steak or darne is a crosswise cut of fish that includes the vertebrae, other bones, and skin. This thick cut is ideal for grilling. You can find fish steak for large fish like halibut, wahoo, and salmon.
A fish loin or medallion is a thick, lengthwise portion of a large fish like tuna or salmon. It’s typically similar in shape to a pork loin and is boneless and skinless.
Medallions are round, crosswise cuts of a fish loin. Typically, they are cut thick. Fish medallions are delicious pan-fried or grilled.
Pan-Dressed Whole Fish
Before cooking a whole fish, it’s best to remove the gills, scales, and viscera. Many fish markets and seafood counters offer “pan-dressed” whole fish. A pan-dressed whole fish has the head intact but has been gutted, scaled, and finned.
You can find a wide selection of fish cuts at City Fish Market. If you don’t know which cut would be best for the seafood recipe you’re planning to make, ask one of our team members! We are happy to answer your questions to make cooking seafood at home easy for you.