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Apr 10, 2008 11:27 AM

Alose and shad - the same?

Can any chowhound enlighten me? I've eaten a delicious fish twice in France - once in a restaurant (not a grand one), and once at a family table. It is seasonal, only found in early Spring, when it makes its way up the estuaries of the Dordogne and Gironde. It is large (salmon-sized), silvery, with a texture and taste somewhere between a salmon and a sardine, both delicate and flavourful. When prepared at home, it was stuffed with sorrel, to draw down the little bones it is afflicted with. I've never had the luck to come upon it again in the past few years.
Is it the same thing as a shad (which I 've never tasted but believe is also migratory up the Chesapeake Bay)? Has anyone else h

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  1. Apparently so:

    Your description of alose is very shad-like. I imagine the roe is eaten in France as well? It's a great springtime delicacy here in the northeastern US. Look for seasonal shad festivals along the Hudson and Delaware Rivers (and presumably along other migratory routes of the fish).

    1 Reply
    1. re: wasny

      Along the Connecticut River, several towns (Windsor, CT and Holyoke, MA come to mind) hold shad fishing derbies. Windsor's is in mid to late May.

    2. I don't know for sure, but the scientific name of the European shad is Alosa alosa (the American shad is Alosa sapidissimus). The similarity of the scientific and common name (Alose) would lead me to believe that they are the same fish.