Fish Glossary


Clean raw fish in preparation for cooking in the following manner.

  1. Remove the head and carefully fillet the fish with a sharp, long-bladed knife, cutting along the backbone, belly and around the tail to end up with two "sides" of fish.
  2. Trim the fat along the top center of each fillet.
  3. Trim fat along edges.


Dressed fish have been scaled, gutted, and had gills removed. Head and fins are intact. A dressed fish is often cooked in one piece by baking, poaching, or barbecuing. A pan-dressed fish has head, tail and fins removed as well.


Most white-fleshed fish have lean, mild meat. Dark-fleshed fish tend to be oilier and more strongly flavored. Lean fish may require more oil in a recipe or more basting than a fattier fish cooked by the same method. You may bake, broil or barbeque fish on a rack to allow fat to drip off.


Fillets are the boneless or "pinbone-in" sides of a fish, cut away from the backbone and removed in one piece. In some fish, there may be pinbones radiating at right angles from the backbone. When these are removed, the fillet is boneless.


Gutted fish are whole fish that have internal organs removed and sometimes scaled with head and fins intact. A gutted fish has a longer storage life than a fish stored just as it comes from the water, because entrails cause rapid spoilage.


Good seasonings for whitefish include basil, bay leaves, celery salt, chervil, chives, dill, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne powder, garlic, fennel, curry, oregano, paprika, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, parsley, tarragon and saffron.


For fish, most commonly based with butter or margarine.


Whitefish are delicately flavored and delicious. Salt and a little butter, cream or lemon juice are all the seasoning you may want. Sauces used with whitefish include mushroom, amandine (almond), hollandaise, mild cheese sauces and white wine.


Steaks are cross-sections cut from dressed fish. They are generally 1 to 2 inches thick. Large fish such as salmon, grouper, halibut and mackerel are often steaked.


Fresh Fish: Never keep raw fish longer than three days in the refrigerator
Frozen Fish: Store frozen whitefish at 0 degrees F as follows:
Maximum Quality: up to 3 months
Maximum Storage: up to 9 months