How to Cook Fish and Seafood - Recipes and Information
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Glossary of Terms for Fish, Shellfish, Crustaceans and other Cooking Ingredients & Methods

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Farm raised - seafood which has been grown in containment and fed a controlled diet. See also Aquaculture


FAS - Frozen at sea.


Fancy Pack - A term used for top-quality solid canned tuna, each can containing three to four large pieces of premium cuts.


Fantail - A shrimp that has been peeled with the exception of the last tail section.


Fat Line - The fattiest part of a fish, mostly along the belly walls and lateral line. The fat line is often removed for milder flavor and improved shelf life.


Fathead - A saltwater fish belonging to the wrasse family. Also called "California sheepshead." Its meat is white, tender, and lean.


Feathering - Trimming the fillet to remove the "frill" of small bones around the edge.


Filet -  French spelling for fillet (see Fillet)


Fillet - A slice of fish flesh of irregular size and shape which is removed from the carcass by a cut made parallel to the backbone, usually 2 to 12 oz. Some fillets, especially of fresh fish and those used to make up the larger frozen blocks, may be larger than 12 oz. However, for most institutional foodservice and home uses, frozen fish fillets over 12 oz. are not generally available. Special cut fillets are taken from solid large blocks; these include a "natural" cut fillet, wedge, rhombus or tail shape. Fillets may be skinless or have skin on; pinbones may or may not be removed.



Filter Feeder - A shellfish such as an oyster or mussel, which obtains its food by filtration from the sea water which it pumps through its system.


Finfish - An aquatic vertebrate of the superclass Pisces.


Finger Pack  - A term used for layer-packed shrimp.


Finger Sticks - rectangles of fish cut from a frozen block, usually 1 by 3 inches, weighing 1 to 2 ounces each, breaded/battered.


Fingers - Irregular-shaped pieces of fish, similar to a long, thin fillet, breaded or battered, raw or pre-cooked. Weight per piece varies, usually available portioned (1 to 3 oz.), or in bulk.


Finnan Haddie - A medium-sized haddock split down the back with backbone left on, then brined and hot smoked.


Fish - Water-borne animals are broken down into two very broad categories: fish and shellfish. In the most general terms, fish are vertebrates, have fins, and gills; while shellfish are invertebrates, either having shells of one sort or another, or having evolved past the need for one. (For more details, see shellfish.)

  • Fish are further separated into freshwater and saltwater fish. Because fresh water provides less buoyancy than salt water, freshwater fish have hundreds of tiny, light bones in a network throughout the flesh. Saltwater fish, on the other hand, have thicker, fewer bones, making them more attractive for eating.
  • Fish are divided into three broad categories based on the fat content of their flesh: lean, moderate-fat and high-fat fish. In lean fish (e.g. flounder), the fat is concentrated in the liver rather than the flesh. The meat tends to be mild and lightly colored.  Moderate-fat fish have darker color, firmer texture and more assertive flavor than low fat fish. High-fat fish (e.g. tuna) can average 12 percent fat, but some have fat contents up to 30 percent. These fish have the darkest color, firmest texture and most distinctive flavor.
  • Fish are also categorized as flatfish or roundfish. Flatfish are adapted to swimming long the bottom of the sea or ocean. There are oval shaped, with both eyes on the topside of the body, and are usually dark on the top and pale or white on the bottom. Roundfish have round or oval bodies, with eyes on opposite sides of the head.


Fish Sticks - Rectangles of fish cut from a frozen block, usually 1 by 3 inches, weighing 1 to 2 oz. each, breaded/battered. Fish stick packs may bear grading and inspection marks. Fish sticks may also be cut or extruded from a minced fish block. Labels must, and menus should, show whether fish sticks are "minced fish" or "fillet fish" sticks.


Flatfish - that have a flat body with both eyes located on the upper side. Flatfish swim "sideways" and include "flounder," "halibut," and "sole." Most of these fish have sweet, delicate white flesh that chefs and consumers everywhere enjoy: low fat, fine textured meat and mild flavor. All flatfish belong to the order Pleuronectiformes, which means they have both of their eyes on the same side of their head. All flatfish start out life looking like normal fish, but after a few weeks, one eye migrates to the other side of their head, their bodies flatten into an oval shape, one side turns dark and one side white and they settle to the bottom. The meat from a flatfish typically varies in color: fillets from the bottom (white) side of the fish will be thinner and whiter, while fillets from the top (dark) side will be thicker and more gray. Even though many of them are called soles, all the flatfish fished commercially in the U.S. are really flounders. To show the extent of the confusion:

  • Pacific Dover Sole is a flounder not the same as true English Dover Sole from the North Atlantic, is the most common flounder sold on the West Coast.
  • Yellowfin sole is a small flounder.
  • Arrowtooth flounder, which is found from California to Alaska, has a soft flesh and is often marketed as “turbot,” although it is not European turbot, the most expensive flatfish in the world.
  • Greenland turbot, which is caught in both the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans, is not really a turbot either, but instead is a member of the halibut family. Outside of North America it is called Greenland halibut or black halibut. To avoid marketing confusion with Pacific halibut, the halibut industry successfully lobbied to have the name of this flatfish changed to turbot.
  • California halibut is actually a left-eyed flounder.
  • Fluke is a common name for summer flounder, a popular East Coast flatfish that occurs from the southern Gulf of Maine to South Carolina. Because it is a closely related species, California halibut may also be called fluke on occasion. It’s enough to make someone flounder, or at least try one’s sole


Fletch - Large boneless fillet of halibut, swordfish or tuna.


Flounder - A fine-textured flatfish prized for its delicate flavor. Some of the more popular varieties include "Fab," "English Sole," and "Plaice."


Flying Fish - This fish, a delicacy in the West Indies and Japan, gains speed underwater then leaves the water except for the lower lobe of its tail. It then vigorously beats its tail, extends its ventral fins and can fly a 1,000 feet or more.


FOB - Means free on board and a location usually follows this term. Charges beyond the termination point are the buyer's responsibility.


Formed Fillets - Portions cut from blocks in such a way that they appear to be natural fillets, although all are exactly the same size and shape.


Freezer Burn - Dehydration caused by the evaporation loss of moisture from product. It is recognized by a whitish, cottony appearance of the flesh, especially at the cut edges or thinner places.


Fresh - Product that has never been frozen, cooked, cured or otherwise preserved.


Fresh Frozen - Indicates fish were quickly frozen while still fresh.


Frog's Legs - Like snails froglegs are usually categorised with seafood -they are the tender, faintly sweet white meat from the hind legs of frogs. Because of their mild taste, they should be cooked quickly and without and overpowering flavorings.


Frogfish - This large low-fat, firm-textured salt-water fish has a mild, sweet flavor that compares with lobster. Also called "angler fish," "monkfish," or "goosefish."


Front Section - A large section (thicker than a steak) taken from the forward 1/3 of a fish's body.


Frost Fish - (Lepidopus caudatus). Average size 120-160 cm, weighing 1.5-2 kg, but can grow to 2 m. Similar species occur in most cool oceans. The New Zealand species is very similar to the Japanese and Korean species except that the tail of the New Zealand species is forked. Long ribbon-like body; uniformly silver colour; smooth skin, no scales. Sharp head; very long dorsal fin, and thin attachment of tail to body. Widely dispersed around New Zealand but areas of concentration relatively unknown. Caught incidentally by trawlers. Resource size unknown but probably small. Flesh white, delicate texture.


Frozen - Fish that have been subjected to rapid lowering of temperature, generally to 0° F or lower, in such a manner as to preserve the inherent quality.


Fugu - Pronounced FOO-goo, this is the Japanese name for a pufferfish that contains a poison sac so toxic, a single fish contains enough to kill 30 adults. Approximately, 100 people die every year of fugu poisoning. Yet, it’s still a delicacy in both Japan and the Philippines. In Japan, it is used in both sashimi and nabemono preparations, and only qualified chefs trained in removing the sac may prepare it. In Japan, it is eaten almost in a ritual, first with the fins being fried and served with sake (Fugu Hire-zake); then the skin is de-spiked and served on a salad (Yubiki) with a ponzu dressing; and finally the flesh sliced and served. Trivia: It is the only food not permitted to be served to the Emperor of Japan.


Full Nape Fillet - Fillet with pinbones in, nape on and tail on. Also called "full fillet" or "whole fillet."


Fyke Net - Set in lakes and streams for the catching of eels. Having swum into the net the eels are unable to escape past the fyke (non-return) entrance.



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