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Cuts & Portions

As a very rough guide, you get approximately 50% meat (yield) from a whole fish. However, this varies by specie and the preparation and cut required. Also, removing the skin reduces the yield further by approximately 10%. For a guide to yields on the most popular cuts and portions.

Whole Fish

As consumers become increasingly adventurous when eating out, we are seeing a return of portion sized fish (300-600g) being served whole again. Both round and flat fish can be cooked whole.

Round Fish

This should be scaled & gutted, and fins removed (though not essential). The flesh can be scored prior to cooking to take seasoning if required, and the gut cavity is ideal for stuffing with herbs.

Flat Fish

This should be gutted and trimmed, then can be either left with the skin on, skinned both sides, or ‘blacked’ (skinned on the dark side only). The head can also be removed if required.
Cut / Portion
Type of fish required
Examples of species
Whole fish - pan ready
Any portion size round or flat
Sea Bass, Sea Breams, Trout, Snappers, Emperors, Red Mullet, Mackerel Dover and Lemon Sole
The most common cut and available from any fish* - round or flat. Fillets from larger fish can be futher cut into portions sized supremes or escalopes.

Any round or flat fish except large game fish (loins) and Skate (wings)
Almost all of them!
Salmon, Trout and any freshwater fish, any flat fish and round fish - coldwater or warmwater
Butterfly Fillets
Portion size whole round fish can be de-headed, and filleted only cutting through either the back or belly side creating a ‘butterfly’ style fillet once opened. An attractive way of presenting fish, and ideal for filling.

Small portion size round fish
Sardines, Herrings, Trout, Sea Bass, Mackerel, Red Mullet
Quarter-cut Fillets
A single flat fish fillet can be cut in half lengthways into quarter fillets.

Small to medium size flat fish
Plaice, Lemon Sole, Turbot, Brill, Chick Halibut
Canoe Fillets
Whole round fish filleted along the back as per butterfly cut, except the head is left on creating a ‘canoe’ shape.

Portion sized round fish
Trout, Sea Bass, Sea Breams
Pocketed Fish
Portion size flat fish can be de-headed, trimmed and filleted without cutting into the top or bottom sides creating a ‘pocket’, which can be filled and baked or grilled.

Portion size flat fish
Plaice, Lemon Sole, Megrim, Witch, Deb, Flounder
Steaks (Darnes)
Portions cut through the bone of a whole fish. Also known by the French as a darne when cut from a round fish.

Large round fish
Salmon, Cod, Hake, Monkfish
Steaks (Tronçons)
Portions cut through the bone of a whole fish, known as a tronçon when cut from a flat fish.

Large flat fish
Halibut, Turbot, Brill
The prime part of a fillet taken above the bone of a large round fish such as Cod, and taken from either side of the bone of large game fish like Tuna. Smaller loins from Cod or Hake may be portion size, but large loins from Tuna and Swordfish will need cutting into suprêmes.

Large round fish and large game fish
Cod, Hake, Tuna, Swordfish, Marlin, Mahi Mahi
Sometimes confusingly called steaks, fillets or pavés, suprêmes are prime boneless portions cut from large fillets or loins. Traditionally, suprêmes were often cut on the slant, but these days are cut straight. They are an extremely popular cut, as they provide a thick piece of boneless meat, which clearly appeals to consumers put off by bones in fish.

Large round and flat fish fillets and loins of large game fish
Salmon, Cod, Halibut, Turbot, Snappers, Groupers, Barracuda, Barramundi, Tuna, Swordfish, Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Kingfish
Cut from a large skinless fillet at an angle towards the tail. This creates a thick slice, which provides good plate coverage. Often confused with a délice.

Fillets from large fish
Salmon, Halibut
Also known as roasts (and – again confusingly - suprêmes, tronçons and steaks), pavés are cut from large flat fish by cutting in half down the length through the bone, and then cutting the two halves into portions - normally with the skin left on.

Large flat fish
Halibut, Turbot, Brill
Skate and Rays
Skate and Rays