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Shad Roe


RaisaB
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I don't think there is anything great about shad roe. It taste fishy and has a mushy texture. I tried it again recently to see if my memories were correct and unfortunately they were. My dad used to buy it when I was a little girl. I didn't like it then , I don't like it now.

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I don't think there is anything great about shad roe. It taste fishy and has a mushy texture. I tried it again recently to see if my memories were correct and unfortunately they were. My dad used to buy it when I was a little girl. I didn't like it then , I don't like it now.

We had some (cooked it at home) on Saturday. Now I remember why I don't particularly like it. RiasaB's description is dead on.

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Good question - and one I've been wondering about myself, since I've never tried it either!

I do know that Le Refuge (100 block of N. Washington St. in Old Town) usually has it listed on their specials board at this time of year. I've also seen it in the seafood case at the new Whole Foods - but I wouldn't have any idea how to prepare it....

Hope some 'experts' will chime in and inform the uninformed <_<

I like shad roe and I like that its appearance means that winter is almost over. It's pretty simple to cook at home, just sautee it in some butter and serve with bacon or pancetta. Don't overcook it, the texture degrades. Some more ideas here, plus a link to a still-viable Kliman article on the stuff from last year.

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I really like shad roe but can totally understand people who don't -- the texture is indeed pretty close to liver, but combined with some good smoky bacon it can be delicious. Hank's version was tasty when I had it, cooked to just the right texture. That's no small feat. In fact, I think the bacon was the weak point in the dish!

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Whole Paycheck is still selling it for about $12 a "set." If you don't like it straight, break open one of the sacs and mix a generous glop of the roe into a couple of best quality eggs when scrambling. It adds a depth and richness to the eggs beyond what you get with cream. But then I like kimchee in my eggs as well.

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So, I noticed Magruders advertisement in the Food section of the Washington Post listed shad roe available. I'm thinking about buying some and fixing at home. How do you pick out good roe? How should you cook it? And what does it taste like, and what is the texture like?

(Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere; I did a search and didn't find a topic on it.)

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So, I noticed Magruders advertisement in the Food section of the Washington Post listed shad roe available. I'm thinking about buying some and fixing at home. How do you pick out good roe? How should you cook it? And what does it taste like, and what is the texture like?

(Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere; I did a search and didn't find a topic on it.)

Some info here, it centers more on what restaurants serve it, but there is some discussion on preparation, taste, and texture.

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This brings back memories. Fried shad roe was one of my favorite treats growing up and my mom used to prepare it in a traditional Bengali manner. Shad roe is similar in taste (or as close as you can get) to hilsa fish (sometimes described as the national fish of Bengal).

First you must remove the eggs from the sac. There'll be a very thin membrane around the roe which you have to carefully peel off. Personally, I think this is the toughest part of the whole deal.

Make a fine paste out of fresh ginger, turmeric, salt, and green chilis. I don't ever measure it, but I'm thinking about 1/2 inch of ginger (peeled, of course), two green chilis, a pinch of turmeric and a slightly more generous pinch of salt.

Using your fingers, mix the spice paste with the shad roe and then form into irregular shaped balls. Drop them into hot oil and fry a minute or two. I wish I could give you a more detailed recipe. Where's Monica Bhinde???? I'm sure she knows far better than I do.

These delicious morsels were an appetizer that I coveted. My parents would always go to the fish monger and specifically request female carp that were full of roe. When I went away to university, they would freeze the roe and make it as a special treat for me when I visited. 20 years later, I would bet the farm that if I went home unannounced, there would be at least a small amount in the freezer, just in case!

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John McPhee wrote a very entertaining non-fiction book on shad, The Founding Fish.

He has a recipe for shad roe in the back of the book which is pretty much what Nora's husband expects from shad roe. I've never been able to get them to come out right but don't think bacon fat is the ideal medium. Old time Southerners always cooked everything in bacon grease. If I tried again I'd use clarified butter and very lightly flour first.

Bonnie Wolf did a piece about shad roe on NPR and has a recipe on their website as well as a clip of her essay.

They are very delicate and easy to overcook, they must be strictly fresh, and even so, to me, they do taste like fish. Fish eggs, to be precise. I don't cook them myself, just eat a nice dish of shad roe at a good restaurant in season. The Track restaurant in Carytown in Richmond does a nice job with shad roe.

I just got off the phone with the manager at The Track, shad roe is available now, but he sold out last night and can't get anymore today. He thinks he will have them this weekend. They are only open for lunch and are closed Sunday and Monday. The Track 2915 West Cary Street (804) 359-4781

Slavin Fish market has shad roe in stock, $11.95 per pair.

As Nora said, the shad are not running this far north yet. The shad planking in Wakefield VA, a traditional political meet-and-greet for all Virginia politicians, is held in April. This year's shad planking will be held on April 28. No idea whether they serve shad roe, though.

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Whole Foods in Silver Spring this past weekend, too. Didn't look for them at P St. yesterday, but these harbingers of spring should be in the other WFM locations.

* * *

See posts by Zora, Xcanuck & Waitman above for inspiration and information. Recommendations for removing roe from sacs remind me of this particular recipe from The NYT, especially since bacon would be great, crumbled and mixed into the flesh of the Russet before topping it w roe.

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I unintentionally bought a set of shad roe at Wegman's (in Lanham) today for $11.99. Unintentionally because I stupidly thought I was buying a coveted fish, not a sac of roe, which probably serves my call-myself-a-foodie-ass right. So now I'm a little scared given I don't typically care for roe, caviar, etc. Am hoping to recruit a friend into eating it with me tomorrow night so I don't have to go it alone. :)

I'm still looking at recipes but thought this one that calls for slowly pan roasting it in butter seems like a safe choice. In general, it seems like not overcooking it is key, but if anyone has other suggestions, please chime in. I do think it smells fresh for anyone who might be looking to buy it. There was only one more set in the case but they may have also had more in the back, not sure.

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I'm still looking at recipes but thought this one that calls for slowly pan roasting it in butter seems like a safe choice. In general, it seems like not overcooking it is key, but if anyone has other suggestions, please chime in.

The linked-to recipe is basically asking you to confit the shad roe in butter, which is pretty extravagant if you ask me. IMO you can cook it slowly in a pan with a much smaller amount of butter, and serve it in a brown butter sauce without then having to discard a lot of expensive butter. Spoon hot butter over the roe as it cooks, and carefully turn the sacs once. When they are firm, remove and cover them to keep warm, raise the heat slightly, add some finely chopped shallots, when they are translucent and the butter is browned and nutty-smelling, splash in some white wine or dry vermouth, add a teaspoon of rinsed capers, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice, salt, white pepper and some chopped fresh herbs (chervil if you can find it– tarragon if you can't, parsley and chives). Pour this sauce over the roe sacs and serve immediately.

A previous post of mine was referred to but not included when this thread was moved from somewhere else. So I'll just repeat what I think I recall saying there: I like shad roe cooked as above, but when I served it to my husband he was unhappy. He wanted shad roe cooked as he had eaten it as a child with his Pennsylvania Dutch father: with bacon and a little onion, the roe sacs floured and fried in bacon fat and served on Thomas' english muffins.

I rarely cook shad roe anymore because he doesn't want to eat it the way I want to cook it, and I don't like eating it the way his mother used to cook it. So--just one of those many stalemates that happen to stale mates in a long relationship. :)

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Just some food for thought... The Chesapeake Bay Foundation gives the shad fishery a grade of "F" with its abundance scored at a 9 out of 100.

Shad report

Thanks for sharing this. I looked into it and realized this only after buying it that it wasn't a sustainable option like I had hoped. :)

Zora, thanks for the input. I think the amount of butter basically was to avoid having to baste. I doubt I have that much butter at home so I will just follow your advice I think. Was planning to just serve it alongside a salad of mixed greens with a mustard-sherry vinaigrette.

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I rarely cook shad roe anymore because he doesn't want to eat it the way I want to cook it, and I don't like eating it the way his mother used to cook it. So--just one of those many stalemates that happen to stale mates in a long relationship. :)

Well, Zora, shad roe do come in pairs. Y'all could each have one your way. :)
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I have tried several ways of cooking Shad Roe and was not particularly fond of any of them until I found out you could make an excellent Bottarga from them.

Recipe

Perhaps as per Dean's note about sustainability above I need to find an alternative fish roe to use this way.

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ShadRoe003.jpg

The verdict: It wasn't as horrible as I feared, but I don't need to have it again. Ever.

Went with Zora's suggestion for a pan sauce minus the herbs since I didn't have them. My friend, who ate it growing up said it was the best he's had so that has to count for something, but only confirms my belief that I need not try it again. :)

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Just some food for thought... The Chesapeake Bay Foundation gives the shad fishery a grade of "F" with its abundance scored at a 9 out of 100.

Shad report

(There are two shad roe threads in Shopping and Cooking.)

I was perhaps naively surprised when Fiona at District Fishwife told me they were likely not going to carry shad roe this year due to sustainability concerns, then I looked into it and found confirmation from several sources that shad is probably not the best fish to consume right now.  Fair enough, I just never thought it was that popular (besides me and my dad, I personally don't know anyone who actually likes it.)   Anyway she hooked me up with some $4/lb walleye roe, which looks similar, just lighter in color...we'll see how that goes cooked with some bacon tonight.  Anyone ever had this before?

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