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Shad roe - who's tried it?

The shad are running here in South Carolina, and the Hominy Grill in Charleston has shad roe on its menu, a traditional rite of spring. Their version sautees the roe with bacon and serves it over grits. It sounds like just the kind of local, seasonal dish I love--yet I've never tried it!

It seems like shad roe is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of dish. Or maybe it's an acquired taste. Either way, most reports I've heard from first-time shad roe tasters have been lukewarm at best. Not exactly encouraging.

So, those who have tried it, what's your opinion of shad roe? I'm trying to psych myself up to try it, but I welcome both positive and negative opinions, the more descriptive the better!

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  1. The shad run up here later in the spring and I have tried them a couple of times. Sauteed is the way I've had it. The flavor is not hugely distinguishable to me but the texture is what drives it. Personally I didn't care for it much, but it is worth trying. I didn't think i would like foie gras but after a couple of tries I was hooked.

    1. I was a cook in a high-end joint back in the '70's we had smoked shad roe ( came in an oval can) just saut'eed it and hit it with a little sherry, I liked it, never seen it since. I'd like to try it fresh.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mrbigshotno.1

        Mmm, I'd like to try it the way you made it! that sounds lovely.

      2. go for it, low country jon!

        mr. alka loves it, and the preparation you describe sounds really good, if i do say so! myself? i'm not a huge fish egg fan......

        it is firm with a texture that is a little granular-rough (the eggs); the flavor is not-too-fishy, and a little briny. this is what i recall from when i made some for mr. alka a couple of years ago.

        1. We were served shad & shad roe at boarding school when I was maybe 12 years old. The kitchen staff were all Southerners and the food was usually remarkably good. This was a completely new dish to me and I dug in enthusiastically. However, if I remember correctly, the shad was all bones and the roe, which had been wrapped in bacon and then sauteed, was dry and grainy in texture once you got past the luscious bacon-ness of it. That one taste was enough for me. 50 years later, I'm with the love-it-or-hate-it crowd and I hate it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Deenso

            Could be the Southern staff were not familiar with shad, which properly must be deboned, which in turn is an operation of major scope. Billyuns and billyuns of sharp little bones in there, even worse than carp. I'm passing all of this along secondhand, having not yet had a chance to try either, but I'll take James Beard's and Evan Jones's word on this.

          2. I love it sauteed in butter slowly with a lid on the pan so it cooks through. The chives are up by then, so a few snips of that. I eat it every few years, not every year. I have to make a special trip to the one fish market that sells it, and sometimes they're sold out.