Characteristics: Some call it grotesque, others beautiful. It earned its name because of it darkish red colour and bluish fins. Most of them are found in Niigata Prefecture from in Winter (30~50 cm), but they are caught in early Spring in Suruga Bay (the Shizuoka variety is smaller, up to 20 cm). Houbou in flesh is described as firm and tender when cooked. The fish serves as an adequate replacement to rascasse, or scorpionfish, in bouillabaisse.
There are many ways to prepared this fish:
1. Sashimi and sushi if just caught
2. In “nabe” (soup pot) or as “nimono” (simmered) in Japanese-style cuisine.
3. Steamed and served with a sweet and sour sauce in Chinese-style food.
4. Below is the recipe for Mediterranean style:
- Cut the side fins and scrape the scales off. Clean the insides. Make a couple of shallow incisions over each flank.
- Fill the stomach with a mixture of finely chopped vegetables and herbs.
- Put it on a large sheet of olive oil coated cooking foil paper, sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper. Place vegetables cut in long strings on both sides and one or two thin lemoon slices on top. Coat it with some (not too much) extra virgin oil. You may add some white wine and a little anise spirit (Pernod, Ricard or Absinthe).
- Lastly, place the fish in a foil paper (folded both end) directly on the metal plate inside an preheated at 180 degrees Celsius and cook for about 15 minutes (longer for large fish).