Fish is one of the most versatile foods and can be prepared in various ways, particularly in different cuts.
When dining at a restaurant or going to your local seafood market, you may have noticed that there are a few different cuts of fish. Fish — like beef and steak — has an almost unlimited amount of preparation options. Different cuts of fish have different flavour profiles and require different cooking styles/times. So, depending on the type of fish cut you choose, make sure to match it with the appropriate cooking method and time.
Seafood direct offer seafood delivery throughout the UK, here are some of the most popular fish cuts in the UK you should know about...
Although not technically a cut, whole fish is nonetheless a popular way to prepare a fish. While most chefs and skilled at-home cooks prefer whole fish, it may not be ideal for Brits with less experience because it is more messy and complex to prepare. However, it also offers a level of versatility that other cuts of fish do not have, such as the ability to stuff or season it to create unique flavours.
Whole fish can be purchased “gutted” or “dressed,” meaning the internal organs have been removed, but the head remains intact. It can also be pan-dressed, which means that the head has been removed, but the fish has been scaled, finned, and gutted. This option prepares the fish so that it can be cooked whole.
Fillets are indisputably the most popular cut of fish in the UK. They are cut from the sides of the fish by cutting the meat away from the bone along its length. Fillet cuts are boneless and cook faster than thicker cuts. Fillets can be prepared skin-on or skin-off, and they can be cut further into “portions.” Fillets are highly versatile and easy to prepare!
Butterfly fillets are also easy to cook. These cuts are typically used for small freshwater fish like trout or white bass and are made up of two fillets joined at the centre by skin/backbone. As a result, when spread out, it resembles a “butterfly.” This cut is best suited when pan-frying or baking fish.
A loin is a thick cut of meat from a large fish, such as tuna or swordfish, cut lengthwise. This thick and tasty cut of fish is often boneless and skinless.
A fish steak is a large cross-section cut perpendicular to the spine. Fish steaks are typically cut from larger fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut and are served with the vertebrae, bones, and skin intact. Fish steaks are ideal for grilling; however, you can cook them in a variety of ways.
The backside of the fish, closest to the tail, is cut and served/sold bone-in, which is usually cut and sold separately. Despite being a less popular fish cut, the tail is nevertheless quite flavourful, especially when well-seasoned.
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