One sure sign of spring is the arrival of Shad, a saltwater fish that spawns in freshwater on the East Coast at the start of spring. A type of herring, American shad are boney fish that weigh between three and five pounds each. But it's not the fish themselves that are considered a delicacy. Shad is one fish where the eggs are valued more than the fish itself. But shad roe isn't like most fish eggs you may have eaten. Tens of thousands of roe are encased in two sacs, called lobes, and these sacs are considered a seasonal spring delicacy on the East Coast.
Shad roe taste vaguely fishy but not overpoweringly so, and the texture is similar to a good meatball—soft, yet meaty. The classical way to cook this delicacy, which can only be enjoyed in late springtime, is to cook shad roe in bacon fat, served with lemon and a fresh spring herb. The keys to this dish tasting its best are purchasing very fresh roe, high-quality bacon, and a zingy herb, such as chervil, fennel, or parsley to accompany it. Follow these steps to make shad roe with bacon, a dish that dates back to Colonial days.
(Note: You need plan ahead and start this dish a day ahead in order to let the lobes soak overnight.)
- 4 to 6 lobes of shad roe
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 6 to 10 pieces of smoky, thick-cut bacon
- Flour for dusting
- 1 lemon, quartered
- Fresh herbs such as chervil, fennel, or parsley to garnish
1. Mix the salt and 2 cups cold water until it's dissolved. Submerge the roe lobes in the salt water and let soak in the fridge overnight.
2. In a pan, slowly cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy, then set aside to drain.
3. While the bacon is cooking, flour the roe lobes and set aside until the bacon is done.
4. When the bacon is cooked, turn the heat up to medium-high and cook the shad roe in the same pan for one minute.
Turn the heat back down to medium, cooking for another two to three minutes, until golden. Turn and cook the other side for two to three minutes. Note: Do not overcook, as shad roe become chalky and unpleasant tasting if cooked for too long.
5. To serve, arrange bacon on a plate, place the fresh herbs on the bacon, and then place the shad roe on top. Serve with a lemon wedge.
Whether you're enjoying this dish with friends and family or just having a delicious meal at home, shad roe with bacon is sure to satisfy.
The City Cook. (n.d.). What's In Season: Shad Roe. Retrieved November 14, 2016, from https://www.thecitycook.com/articles/2015-03-02-what-s-in-season-shad-roe
Ruggirello, J. (2015, March 20). What Is Shad Roe and How to Cook It. Retrieved November 14, 2016, from http://www.thedailymeal.com/cook/what-shad-roe-and-how-cook-it
Zimmern, A. (2014, March). Shad Roe with Bacon and Capers. Retrieved November 14, 2016, from http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/shad-roe-with-bacon-and-capers