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Monday, May 17. 2021
It's Shad Season now in the Northeast. Just had my first shad roe dinner of the season with pals last night. They made it with a caper and mushroom sauce with chopped bacon on top, on a bed of spinach, with roasted potatoes. It should be fully pink in the middle but crusty on the outside.
Many of us in Yankeeland welcome this brief season - mainly April-May, when the Shad migrate from the ocean up the rivers to lay and fertilize the eggs, with the females filled with their delicious egg sacs we call Shad roe.
If you drive over the Hudson River, the Connecticut, or Housatonic bridges, you will see the shad fishermen's nets spread out right now.
The roe, cooked with bacon, is as good as food gets. Do not overcook it - it is Shad caviar. But the meat of the Atlantic Shad (a large type of herring, I believe) is underestimated. It requires an expert boner which makes it expensive, but it's as tasty a fish as exists. The Shad is full of crazy bones.
It's a brief season for Shad, and there are Shad Festivals all over the Northeast.
Photo above is Shad roe. My Mom loved it, and so do I.
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Funny you have a post today about shad. Yesterday my 82 year old mother said she'd like to go to a nearby restaurant because shad is on their menu, so of course I took her. She pronounced the shad and shad roe just as good as she remembered. It's nice to please your mother;), and I think I better take her again while the season lasts, hers and the shad's.
>>>It requires an expert de-boner which makes it expensive
C'mon, Helen Thomas can't be charging that much...
I apologize for working blue here, but it is April Fool's Day, and that comment truly, truly invited it...
One must presume that as a lover of shad one has read the John McPhee's book about shad "The Founding Fish". It's a glimpse of the abundance that once flourished on our shores not all that long ago, and it will leave the sensitive reader shaking their head while hoping to live long enough to see some of it restored. Cheers.
Ah yes, while a college student I caught hickory shad just above the fall line of the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg, VA. Great fun with ultralight tackle..."poor man's tarpon". Fish freaks would come out of the woodwork of the dorm when I cooked a few up. One can pick around the bones. The American Shad were few and far between there and or less likely to hit our little darts.
Dear God--that looks so nasty! Is that some kind of semi raw liver? Is this the wrong picture?
Indeed, made it for myself, for the first time, last year. Cooked in butter and crushed black pepper. Hope to enjoy to again, now that I have refilled my gout med's.
This must be some kind of Shad worm hole or something with a 3 year conversation.
Or a Monty Python skit.
Hope Retreads mother is still (in good health) enjoying!
Let's do the Time Warp again!!!
Used to catch shad on bass bugs - they are a decent sport fish. They are described as a "hard fighter" but in my experience a similar sized large mouth will give you a much better tussle.
Interesting factoid: The American Shad fishery on the CT was very important to the Native Americans and is one of the only commercial shad fisheries in the US even today.
I'm sure you've seen this about the Great Shad War.
Don't usually show off my knowledge of literary figurines. But, Zane Grey had a thing or three to say about Shad and about fishing. Shad are mostly netted, though it's called fishing. No worries, just eat em. Fishing is what anglers do though. I like a good fish story.
unfortunately for us along the Hudson the shad fishery is now closed.
--well, you can always fish for Drums Along the Mohawk
As long as the "Mohawk River" doesn't flood I-90 as it did in '06. Got caught up in that one...9 hr trip to Boston became 19.
I live out West but was raised back East and my maternal grandparents owned a fish and poultry store before I was born. They did retain links with their fish sources so we had oysters and fish of the best kind while growing up. Shad roe is an especial treat. The best way I remember Grams preparing it was to fry it in fresh bacon drippings or speck drippings and serve on toast with the fried bacon or speck strips placed on top. Over thirty five years ago a restaurant in Portland served Shad Roe on its menu but the place closed. The manager said that local Indians supplied the Shad Roe to the restaurant much like they did Sturgeon another hard to find product. Before having the Shad Roe a few times during infrequent trips to Portland I had no idea there were Shad on the Pacific coast. Enjoy it for me.
I'd love to try it. In fact, it looks so good and interesting that if I ever visit the NE I should time it to the shad fishing. You've sparked something in me that may not go away until I see it through.
In OK, no one would ever think of eating shad. The name shad is synonymous with bait fish. I think it's the threadfin shad, but no one has ever called it anything but "shad". You definitely wouldn't eat them. They're usually about 3" long and during spawning season you might accidentally snag one that is 6" or 8". You cut them up for catfish bait. They'll make your hands stink for 24 hours.
That’s some seriously good chow. I was blessed to have parents that allowed my brothers and I to have one food that we would not eat…everything else had to be finished before leaving the table. This helped my international career, and my life, far more than my MBA.
Doug l mentioned John mcphee who is always good on any subject.
Another earlier New Yorker writer, equally good on any subject, is Joseph Mitchell.
He was fond of shad and wrote several essays on it. Some are in his anthology "up in the old hotel"