To scale, put pike in a bucket and pour boiling water over both sides. Then place it in the sink under cold running water. Grasp the fish firmly by the gills and scrape off scales with a fish scaler or small, dull knife. Using short strokes, work from the tail to the head.
To remove the head, cut the flesh on both sides with a knife. If the fish is small, slice directly through the spine. For a larger fish, place the knife between vertebrae and tap the back of the knife with a hammer. Cut off the tail with a sharp knife.
The secret to successful pike cookery is do not overcook. Whichever of the following cooking methods you choose, your pike will be cooked when its flesh becomes opaque yet is still moist all the way through.
Place pike in a greased baking dish and place on a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter or oil and season with salt and pepper, cover with a sauce, or wrap in oiled foil. Bake in a preheated 450° F (230°C) oven until a deep knife cut reveals the flesh to be opaque yet still moist.
Place fillets on perforated foil, 4 to 6 inches (about 10 to 15cm) above prepared coals or fire. Baste with butter, oil, or marinade, and close the hood of the grill. Cook until fish is opaque and moist on the inside, about six to ten minutes.
Place seasoned and/or marinated pike on a well-greased broiler pan. Broil under preheated broiler 4 to 5 inches (about 10 to 12.5cm) from heat. Cook until fish is opaque and moist on the inside, about six to ten minutes.
Pour oil into a wok or deep fryer; it should be at least 1 1/2 inches (about 3.8cm) deep, and the cooker should be less than half full of oil. Heat oil to 375°F (190°C), using a thermometer to monitor temperature. Cut pike into similar-sized pieces, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inch (3.2 to 3.9 cm) thick. Dip in batter, drain, then slip pieces into hot oil. Cook until brown, about two to three minutes.
Bring poaching liquid, consisting of water, broth, and herbs and spices, to a simmer. Slip in pike, then cover pan and keep liquid at a simmer for about eight to ten minutes per inch (about 2.5cm) of thickness.
Place pike on a greased perforated rack over 1 to 2 inches (about 2.5 to 5 cm) of rapidly boiling water. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and keep water at a constant boil through cooking time, eight to ten minutes per inch (about 2.5cm) of the thickness of the fish.