How to “score” a whole fish

With recipes for cooking whole fish, it is common to see instructions to “score” the fish. What exactly does “score” mean and what is its purpose?

Scoring the fish means slashing across the thickest part of the flesh. With small fish, one slash is usually enough. But for larger fish, you’ll need to make more.

The purpose is two-fold.

1. For even seasoning as the seasonings are able to reach the innermost parts of the flash.

2. For even cooking.

Some cooks make slashes so deep that they reach the bone. I don’t. For me, the ideal depth is midway between the skin and the bone — just enough to opening up the flesh to catch the seasoning and for the heat to get through the flesh more efficiently.


  1. Jay says

    Would , NOT scoring a fish fillet ( Red Snapper ) cause the fillet to become like rubber ?? I pan fried 2 Snapper fillets and did not score them. One of the fillets curled and the flesh was like rubber, the other fillet was just fine.

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