Posts Tagged ‘Shad’

It’s a spring thing

March 23, 2013

It's a spring thing

The local fish monger had shad fillets and roe sets today. Just what I wanted for dinner.

I melted a couple of tablespoons of sweet butter in a large skillet with an equal amount of olive oil. When it got hot, I placed the shad fillet in the skillet skin side down. I had already salted and peppered the fillet.

I spooned some of the butter/oil over the top of the fillet and, after two minutes on the stove top, I placed the skillet in a pre-heated, 350 degree oven.

For the roe set, I had soaked them for an hour or so in some cool water with a hit of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Then I rinsed the set and patted it dry.

I gently separated the sacks and dusted them with some flour seasoned with white pepper and salt.

I heated up some bacon fat in small skillet over medium low heat and placed the roe set into the fat.

Meanwhile, I pulled the pan with the fillet out of the over and set it back on the stove top over medium heat. I let it cook for a couple of minutes and then poured in about 3 ounces of white wine. Turning the flame up to medium high, I let the wine reduce by half. Then I added a couple more tablespoons of butter and a few ounces of heavy cream. I removed the fish to a plate and kept it warm while continuing to sitr and reduce the wine/butter/cream mixture.

The roe set I turned over just as it was crisping up…about three minutes. I let the roe continue to cook for another three minutes or so and then removed from the heat.

As the sauce thickened, I added some finely chopped parsely, tasted for seasoning and salted and peppered as needed.

I napped the fillet with the sauce and sprinkled on more chopped parsely.

The roe set I placed on the side of the plate with the fillet. I had a small sprig of bronze fennel I got out of the garden that I minced up and sprinkled over the top of the roe.

As an accompaniment, I sauteed some oyster mushrooms and put them on the plate as well.

Spring had sprung!



April 8, 2010

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.