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May 23, 2007 05:11 AM

Shad Roe Recipes?

It's shad roe season and I'm wondering if people have favorite recipes. Tried and true? Outlandish? Complete failures?

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  1. I find that the less I do with shad roe, the better I like it. I usually just saute in some browned butter, sprinkle with sea salt, as serve with lightly steamed asparagus.

    1. Can you do me a favor and explain what shad roe taste like? Here in the Philly area, this is a delicacy that some people wait for all year. I have never been able to bring myself to buy it at the fish store: a girlfriend from college who grew up near New Hope had it daily during the season. Her dad was a big fisherman. Anyway, she hated it and referred to shad roe as 'afterbirth'. I have never been able to get that visual out of my mind, hence my resistance about purchasing it. I've always wondered about what it was like.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mschow

        It IS a peculiar looking food item, true. If you're not squeamish about organ meats, you won't be turned off. But, granted, it's weird. Looks like big whitish or pale orangey/pink sausages.

        As for taste, well, first of all I'd say it has a strong fish taste but not "fishy"; I consider it redolent of the sea. But, like a lot of food, much depends on what you do to it.

        I've cooked it a few times but just last week learned that, initially, you should blanch the roe before cooking it. That's easy. Put the lobes in a bowl, boil enough water to cover them, then pour the boiling water down the side of the bowl until the roe is covered. Let it sit for 15 or twenty seconds, then remove and dry.

        Then you can saute it. First, fry some bacon 'til it's crispy. Remove it, drain some of the bacon grease (or not). Then saute chopped shallots. Meanwhile, roll the roe in corn meal and egg wash. Then put the roe in the skillet and cook for about three or four minutes per side (though some people like it barely cooked I prefer to cook it through, and also brown it up nicely).

        When it's done, squeeze lemon on it, crumble the bacon over it, and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

        The long and short of it is, if you like seafood, and enjoy strong flavors, definitely try it.

        But does anyone have some other ideas about preparing it?

        1. re: mschow

          Ms. Chow, Shad roe is simply the egg sac of the migrating shad. New Hope and Lambertville have a shad festival every year. It may already be too late to get any more this late in the spring. As far as taste goes, it does NOT taste like chicken. It's meaty and slightly fishy (in a good way) at the same time. It's almost organ-meat like. Just bite the bullet and buy a set -- make sure it's absolutely fresh and cook it that day. You'll only be out $10. Or order it as an appetizer when it's on the menu -- perhaps Pif serves it? You could call and find out. The fish markets on 9th street usually have it in season. I've tried the shallot/bacon grease approach as well as poaching in white wine but find that just browning in butter and serving with fresh spring greens -- atop fresh spinach sauted with some shallot works best for me.

          1. re: Ellen

            Thanks, Ellen. The comment about it being almost like 'organ-meat' sealed the deal for me! I don't do any type of organ meats, as I am squeamish about that. So, I know that the shad-roe would be a no go for me! I was afraid it might be like that, so your description cleared that up. I love fish, but I think I will stick with type of fish I am more familiar with.