(From Whole Roasted Porgy with Root Vegetables Post)
Cooking fish whole will give you a nice presentation with little wasted meat, plus you’ll have bones and the head leftover to make into a stock if you’re so inclined. The problem with cooking a whole fish is that you’re dealing with a varying thicknesses of the meat from head to tail, so it’s very easy to get overcooked meat in the thinner areas such as by the tail, while the meat in the middle of the fish stays raw. Not pleasant. To correct this, many cooks will score a fish to allow for more even cooking.
When you “score” a fish that means you cut into the flesh of the fish in the thickest parts of the meat to allow for even cooking. Cut at an angle towards the head, as if you were cutting another gill into the flesh. Try not to get all the way to the bone. Depending on how big the fish is, you may need 2 or 3 scores.
Once you’ve scored your fish, you can cook it however you like, roasted with veggies, as above, pan fried with oil and ginger, or you can dredge the whole thing in flour and seasonings and have yourself a fish fry with some lemon wedges on the side. That’s good eatin.