There are quite a few different ways to cut fish, and many different cuts of fish go under varied names or are specific to certain types of fish. So what cuts of fish should you look for when you are shopping, eating in a restaurant, or buying fish online? Why should you buy a fish steak vs fillet? In this article we will explain different cuts of fish and help you decide which ones to buy.
When it comes to types of fish cuts, the fillet reigns supreme. It is the most common form of fish butchery. There are two types, skin-on and skin-off. The fillet contains most of the edible portions of a fish. The fillet can be cut further into pieces called “portions”. These are the square cuts containing the most uniform pieces of the fillet. The parts of the fillet left over are called pieces or “off-cuts”, which are just as tasty but slightly less uniform. You will find most Sea to Table fish is one of these versions of a fillet (see image above for the different cuts of a Northwest Pacific Cod fillet).
Mostly used for small freshwater fish like trout, the butterfly fillet can be prepared both head-on and head-off. The backbone is left intact and the two fillets are spread out like a butterfly, allowing maximum contact with a hot pan.
A loin is a thick cut taken lengthwise from a large fish, generally a tuna. Also called a loin strip, it is generally skinless and boneless. Loins are often cut further crosswise into medallions, like our Wild Atlantic Albacore Tuna (coming soon!).
Most chefs prefer to buy whole fish and butcher them themselves, but this is not a job for the inexperienced or the faint of heart. Whole fish still contains the head, skin, gills and viscera that must be removed before eating. You might also find whole fish “dressed” which means the viscera has been removed but the head is intact; headed and gutted; or pan-dressed, which is also finned, scaled, and ready to be cooked whole. There are many ways to discover the versatility and culinary options of different cuts of fish. Most home cooks prefer the ease and versatility of cooking with fillets (either whole, portions, or off-cuts). There is no waste and portion control is simple. Sea to Table offers a wide variety of fish, all cut to suit the best cooking methods recommended for the particular variety. So if you don’t have a trusted local fishmonger, Sea to Table is the next best thing. Shop our fish now!