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Shad Roe

I saw shad roe today in the market. Does it seem early? I have always been tempted to buy some especially after reading 'Founding Fish'. Does anyone have a recipe? JOC looks good and simple. I would appreciate a bit of advice and guidance. I was considering serving it with mashed potatoes and garlic spinach.

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  1. <Does it seem early? >

    It does, but Grand Central Oyster Bar has shad roe on the menu today. So I guess it's right on time.

    1 Reply
    1. re: small h

      Shad season begins in February, with Florida....as the season progresses, they move further north until the season ends in May with the Northeast shad. There is a moratorium now on the Hudson river shad, so that source is gone. I just dredge the roe in flour and sear it in butter...really simple.

        1. Interesting. I was just in a Whole Foods in Massachusetts and they had shad roe. I asked the same thing, "isn't it a little early?" and was told that the roe they're selling comes from the Chesapeake Bay & Hudson River.

          The Hudson River origin contradics what someone elsewhere in this thread mentions, that that fishery is closed. So who knows? Definitely not northeast shad roe, that's certain. There are no shad bushes in bloom on the banks of the Connecticut River this time of year!

          Nevertheless. Cooking-wise, one thing I do first is place the shad roe in a bowl and pour boiling water down the side of the bowl (not directly onto the roe). This causes the roe casing to firm up and it becomes less likely to tear when pan frying.

          Lightly coating in flour and pan frying in butter & garlic is good, then splashed with fresh lemon juice.

          4 Replies
          1. re: lescaret

            I never believe what I am told by fish markets. The guy you spoke probably wasn't lying, and really believed it, but fish markets are notorious about miss-stating the origins of their seafood. Look at all the "wild" salmon out there. Supermarkets are the worst...I once saw tilapia labeled "wild, from Canada". I would expect better from Whole Foods, the guy may have just assumed what he said because of where they came from in the past. Even quality fish markets can be misinformed. Many years ago, before they became more well known, I saw a huge geoduck clam in my local fish market. The owner seriously believed that it was a world record steamer clam. When I told him what it was, he realized that his supplier had played a joke on him.

            1. re: lescaret

              Interesting re: the hot water in a bowl. Anyone else do this?

              I think I have read many of the shad roe threads in the past (bc I am interested in making it, but never have). I will keep this in mind if I do ever get around to making it.

              1. re: lescaret

                That's weird; my fishmonger had Shad roe today that he said was from CT.

                1. re: MrsCheese

                  Again, I'll be polite and say he was mis-informed. In my grad school days, I'd take undergrads on field trips for collecting. One of these trips was to the Hudson River. In those days, there was an active fishery for shad. We would see the nets when we'd cross the Tappan Zee bridge. This would be around late April/early May. Connecticut would have to come a little later, at least by a week or so.

              2. While shad roe is one of my super favorite things, l wait until l can buy the whole roe shad and use it then. l am more confidant in its freshness. Seems to be seen in PA around early to mid-March

                1. Spoke with a trusted friend that works in my local fish market and he told me that they are probably out of FL or GA. NY's rivers will not see them for a bit, which I already knew. The 'shad bush' or serviceberry blooms end of april beginning of may. I may try the out of town roe to get a jump on the season.

                  Good read. http://www.johnmcphee.com/foundingfis...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: CCSPRINGS

                    Got a recipe or cooking technique in mind? I used to just season them, dust them with flour (or well seasoned flour), shake off, saute in clarified butter or a mix of butter and bacon fat, until browned and just firm, don't overcook, remove from pan, drop in a few tablespoons of whole butter, brown just a bit, add in hefty squeeze of lemon juice and chopped parsley (the lemon will facilitate faster butter browning) and pour over the roe; easy, quick and tasty. The CT alternative add on is to top the roe with a few slices of crispy bacon for garnish along with the butter sauce.

                    This technique is most likely mentioned in one of GHG's links above, but all those links were too much reading material for me.;-) I did see this alternative idea though:


                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      That sounds tasty. I was going to saute in olive oil and lemon, sprinkle with a bit of parsley. Brown but do not over do it is a constant theme. So is bacon. The market has been out of roe the past week. I will keep looking.

                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        ha! c'mon BG, i thought i showed restraint with this one :)

                      1. I bought it finally and it was great. More mild than expected. Sauteed the roe until light brown, plenty of lemon, s+p, severed with rice crackers. Did it as an appetizer instead of main course. My local market only buys from local fishers, hence my wait. Flavor was delicate.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: CCSPRINGS

                          Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Have you tried the actual fish?

                          "Severed", I think you meant served. ;-)

                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                            Funny you should ask because that is my next request from my friend in the fish market. Not had the fish itself but it sounds tasty.

                            One too many e's,

                            What flavor of popsicle is the cat enjoying?

                            1. re: CCSPRINGS

                              Looks like lemon but cats normally hate any citrus, so probably vanilla? My cats only like vanilla.

                              Shad is good, get it filleted, it's difficult to do a whole fish as they have an odd and very exasperating bone structure. Here's a simple but very good preparation:


                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                Saw some shad filets and this post immediately came to mind. Sound like a great idea I told myself. Will report back post fishbake.

                                1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                  Never get it filetted, yes bones are copious, but make fish so moist, and like eating crabs all about the style more than the item.

                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    Thanks, I'll keep my eyes open for fresh whole shad.

                                    1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                      got some fresh shad roe in south florida this morning at a street market, will try the flour and browned butter approach for lunch a little later today.

                        2. The market had some boned shad! Baked it with lemon and S+P. Verdict? Loved it. Reminded me of a young bluefish. Will do that dish again.
                          No whole shad on hand. Would like to try a whole fish over charcoal with a few herbs and lemon.

                          Early will take on a new meaning this year. Strange weather indeed.