Pine bark (matsukawa) is a term used in Japanese cuisine to describe red snapper prepared with the skin on, and it can be served as a sashimi as well.
The skin of the red snapper is too tough to consume when raw, so it is quickly cooked with boiling water.
The matsugawa tsukuri method of cooling red snapper is actually only used to cook this fish. It’s a unique technique that cooks the skin while leaving the flesh beneath it raw.
To cook red snapper this way, water is first boiled. The raw fish is cut into a fillet, then laid skin side up on a board. The fillet is first covered with cloth with the skin facing up, and hot water is evenly poured. The fillet is then immediately shocked in ice water to prevent the flesh from cooking. The skin becomes dark, and the patterns resemble a Japanese pine bark, thus getting it’s name.
The taste of the red snapper becomes slightly concentrated from the quick heating and icing, and acquires an extra texture from the cooked skin. The skin is considered more delicate and sweeter than salmon skin which is thicker and needs to be grilled in order to be consumed.