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A Guide to the Different Types of Fish Cuts

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If you visit an online fish delivery service like ours, you may notice a variety of fish cuts, ranging from a gutted rainbow trout to breaded plaice fillets. Fish—like pork and beef—can be cut in many ways. But why are we talking about fish cuts anyway? Well, the way a fish is cut affects its flavour and cooking time. For example, if you want to savour the flavour profile of the fish, use bone-in cuts, whereas if a quick cook time is more important to you, you might prefer thin cuts that cook faster. Understanding the differences will help you in choosing the best cut for your next seafood entree. Seafood Direct has created this fish cut types guide to help you get the most out of your online seafood delivery.

Fish Fillet

The fillet or filet is indisputably the most popular fish cut. Filleting a fish involves cutting the meat away from the bone along the length of the fish. One of the reasons behind the popularity of this cut is that fillets are thinner and boneless, so they cook faster than thicker cuts such as steaks or loins. When it comes to fish delivery in the U.K., you can choose from two types of fillets: skin-on and skin-off.

Fish Portions

Portions are uniform, rectangular fillet cuts. They are boneless since they are sliced off a fillet. Fillet portions are great for making fish fingers or tacos. When you cut a fillet into portions, the leftover pieces are called “off-cuts,” which are great for seafood pasta or chowder.

Butterfly Fish Fillet

When ordering your seafood online in the U.K., you can often buy small freshwater fish in a butterfly fillet. A butterfly fillet is simply two fillets joined together by a backbone—aside from the spine, all other bones are removed. With this cut, you can enjoy a whole fish without the bones. Also, because the meat has maximum contact with the pan, butterfly fillets cook faster than whole fish.

Fish Steak or Darne

Although many people use the terms “fillet” and “steak” interchangeably, they are not the same. A fish steak—sometimes known as a darne—is a cross-sectional cut of fish that contains the vertebrae, other bones, and skin. Grilling is a great way to use this thick cut. If you are on a seafood home delivery website, you can find fish steak for large fish.   

Fish Loin

A fish loin is a thick, longitudinal portion of a large fish, such as tuna or salmon. It is boneless and skinless and resembles the shape of a pork loin.

Fish Medallions

Medallions are crosswise cuts of a fish loin that are round in shape. They are typically cut thick. Pan-fried or grilled fish medallions are delicious.

Pan-Dressed Whole Fish

It is advisable to remove the gills, scales, and viscera from a whole fish before cooking it. Many seafood wholesalers in the U.K. sell whole fish that has been “pan-dressed.” The head of a pan-dressed whole fish is still intact, but it has been gutted, scaled, and finned.

Seafood Direct is the place to go for seafood delivery in London. We offer a wide selection of responsibly sourced premium frozen seafood—and we can also help you find the best cut for the seafood recipe you are planning to make.

Call us at 01472 566000 or write to us at We are happy to answer your questions to make cooking seafood at home easy for you.

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