Fillet
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Fillet, (pronounced “fill-ay”) but also spelled “Filet” (pronounced “fill-ette”) in Great Britain, simply means a Boneless Portion Cut of Meat.  The Fillet of Fish, Fillet of Chicken and Fillet of Beef are the most commonly known “Filets,” but technically any piece of boneless meat, in various sizes and shapes, can be described as a Fillet

You will likely see an assortment of Fillets at your local meat counter and can experiment with different types of Fillets.

Varieties

Because each type of Fillet comes from a different animal and region of the body, there is no hard and fast rule about whether the Fillet is always White Meat or Dark Meat or whether it will be Tender or Tough. It is better to consider the animal source of a specific Fillet and then where it comes from on the animal to answer questions about how it should be prepared.

For example, a Fish Fillet is usually a longer, bilateral cut of the fish taken from the left or right side of the spine (in the case of Round Fish) or above or below the spine (in the case of Flat Fish).

Fillets can also be butchered from livestock such as Chicken or Beef. They will not all be the same shape or size, but usually Fillets from Chicken or Beef are cut from the more tender portions of the animal. For Beef, Fillet usually means cuts from the Tenderloin (Filet Mignon). When discussing Beef, the term “Boneless Beef Steak would cover most other (non-tenderloin) instances of boneless or sliced beef.  For Chicken, the Fillets are usually sliced thin from the Chicken Breast or Chicken Leg.

It is more unusual to see Pork Fillets, which are usually cut from the Pork Tenderloin, though by definition any thin boneless cut of meat will be a Fillet.

Fletch is a large boneless Fillet cut from a large fish such as SwordfishHalibut or Tuna.

Cutlet is technically a specific type of Fillet that is sliced thin from the Leg or Rib of VealPork, or Mutton. In common usage a Cutlet has also come to mean a thin breaded, boneless slice of meat.

Purchasing

As you progress in your cooking, you may even want to break out a Filet Knife and bone-out your own Fillets from larger Primal Cuts of Meat to save money and improve your skills and knowledge of cooking.

Culinary Uses

Fillets from livestock tend to be very thin and tender, allowing them to be cooked quickly with a Dry Heat Method such as GrillingSautéingPan Frying, etc. Be careful not to overcook them since they can dry out easily.

What Fillets gain in tenderness they tend to give up in flavor, most likely because there are no flavorful bones in these cuts of meat. Flavor can be enhanced by the use of RubsMarinadesBastingGlazing, etc.

Fillets are also flexible cuts of meat that can be used for Rolling or Stuffing in dishes such as Chicken KievChicken SaltimboccaChicken Cordon Bleu, etc.