How not to cook shad roe

I have to admit, I had no idea what it was when I went to the local chain grocery store (Harris Teeter) and I saw it.  I’ve found smelt there before, and I posted earlier in the year about deep frying them and how yummy that was.  So, when I happened upon the seafood section, here’s what they had.

From 2010-04-19 – 2010-04-19 shad roe

Shad roe.  Apparently a spring delicacy as the shad migrate, mostly on the East Coast.  I had to check it out. So I loaded up a few lobes of it and brought it home. I guess I should have thought about a little anatomy before I started cooking it. I didn’t much other than season some AP flour with salt and cayenne pepper, lightly dust them, and throw them in a hot, cast iron skillet with melted butter.

From 2010-04-19 – 2010-04-19 shad roe

Big mistake. If you check out this description of how to do it, you’ll see there was a fatal flaw in the preparation. High heat. Why, you ask? The egg sacs rupture and hot grease goes flying all over you and your kitchen.  Yeah, really.

From 2010-04-19 – 2010-04-19 shad roe

Not to mention the result. It tasted like firm, fishy chicken liver. Yuck.

The real way to prepare them is over low heat, either as a slow pan roast, or poached in the fat of your choice at about 180F until just done. Butter would have made a nice choice, and then served about like I prepare skate (Grenobloise with brown butter, capers, and lemon juice). I’m not saying you should give up on shad roe, just don’t cook it like that.

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