The seemingly instantaneous transition from winter to summer-like winter has been almost as confusing as welcome.  One of the sure signs of the turning of the seasons is the all too brief appearance of shad in the fish markets.

Shad print by Shermon F. Denton

While I don’t believe the annual spawning run has yet reach this stretch of the Delaware, this largest of the herrings has already found its way to area stores. 

Several days ago friend Mark mentioned they had acquired some shad from the seafood counter of a local market.  That was all it took to set my mouth watering for what John McPhee called “The Founding Fish.”

 The dilemma is finding a source that can successfully fillet the notoriously boney fish. It’s either that or purchase a whole fish and slowly roast it to dissolve the myriad tiny bones. 

On an errand to West Windsor yesterday, I popped into the local Whole Foods store on a whim.  What luck!  They had shad fillets on hand.  They had the roe sacks too, but I skipped them this trip.

Once home, I had to decide how best to honor this rare treat.

Shad, if you have not had it, possesses a rich tasting, yet delicate flesh.  You can serve it dressed with fancy sauces and such, but then you are just covering up the unique and flavorful character of the fish.

Planked: Shad and Salmon

Bearing this in mind and with a nod to tradition, I pulled a cedar cooking plank out of the cupboard and put it to soak for a couple of hours.  Once I got the grill heated to medium-high temperature, I seasoned the fish with salt and pepper, put it on the plank and placed the plank on the grill.   After plating the fish, I drizzled a mixture of lemon juice, melted butter and chopped fresh parsley over the fillet.

The fish was accompanied by a baked potato, a green salad and some Pinot

Served: shad fillet with lemon/butter/parsley and a baked potato

Grigio.  And we ate on the patio, enjoying the warm evening and the bounty of the spring shad run.


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One Response to “Shad!”

  1. It’s a spring thing | Dj'eat? Says:

    […] local fish monger had shad fillets and roe sets today. Just what I wanted for […]

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