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The Different Cuts Of Fish
- A whole fish is just what it sounds like—head, tail, skin, bones, everything. Be sure to ask your fishmonger (aka fish salesman) to clean, gut, and scale a whole fish for you. That way, it will be ready to cook as soon as you bring it home.
- Whole fish can be grilled, roasted, broiled, steamed, deep-fried, or, if they’re not too big, sautéed (aka pan-fried).
Filets and Sides of Fish
- A fish filet is a side of a whole fish that has been removed from the central bones. Filets are usually boneless, although they will sometimes contain pin bones, which stick out from along the middle of the filet. (These can easily be removed before or after cooking by plucking with fish tweezers.)
- Filets of large fish (also called sides of fish) will either be cut into smaller, individual servings or cooked whole and served family-style.
- Fish filets can be broiled, roasted, grilled, sautéed, fried, or steamed. They can also be marinated, breaded, or coated with spices.
- Whereas a filet is a side of a whole fish, a fish steak is a cross-section of a whole fish or of a large fish filet.
- Fishmongers typically cut steaks from larger, thicker fish (salmon, swordfish, tuna), and steaks tend to be thicker than most fish filets. Also unlike filets, which are usually thinner at the ends and thicker in the middle, steaks have the an even thickness throughout.
- You can cook a fish steak in all the same ways as you can a filet (broil, roast, grill, sauté, steam), but steaks are particularly suited to grilling — because they’re nice and thick, you generally don’t have to worry about them breaking apart during cooking.
Next: Shopping For Fish