Red snapper is classified as one of the white fishes (shiromi).
There are three popular ways to prepare red snapper sushi. These techniques are often performed on the whitefishes, sushas halibut, and sea bass. The first way is preparing it plain (fresh or aged),the second is the matsugawa tsukuri(pine bark preparation) for the people who like red snapper skin, which is considered lighter and more delicate than salmon skin. The third is the kobujime (Infusing with kombu extracts).
Fresh red snapper has a turgid flesh, is very watery, and has a delicate sweet aroma. For some, more stronger flavors are preferred,so in order to do this, the red snapper is refrigerated for a couple of hours. This lowers its moisture content and concentrates the flavor. On top of that the amino acids start to decompose, and a deeper flavor is achieved.The only downside is that it becomes very soft, and loses the “extra fresh” texture. It is a matter of preference. If you like freshness, then try it fresh and enjoy the texture and faint aromas. If you want more taste, then you should try the aged red snapper.
The matsugawa tsukuri is prepared so that only the skin is cooked and the flesh underneath remains raw. This method is performed exclusively for theredsnapper. Boiling water is carefully poured on the skin side of the fillet and then the whole fillet is immediately “shocked” in ice water to prevent the cooking to deepen into the fillet. Some chefs may use gas torches to prevent the hot water from washing away the snapper flavors, but no matter how quick the chef is, this may over-cook the fillet under the skin due to the high heat of gas flame compared to boiling water. The object is to cook only the skin and keep the flesh absolutely raw. The pink-silver skin of the snapper shrinks and curls up a bit and turns a little grey. The result looks like a bark of a pine.
The third popular way of preparing red snapper sushi is the kobujime. This is prepared by laying the fillet on wet kelp to infuse the flavors on to the fish. While this is done, excess moisture from the red snapper is transferred to the kelp while the red snapper receives the flavors from it. The result is a concentrated flavor of red snapper enhanced with kelp. Kelp, while very bland,acts as a powerful ingredient to enhance flavors in fish, and it is one of the basic ingredients in any Japanese cuisine.