Regional real food delicacies: Shad roe

The more I get into real food and traditional food, the more I get into the idea of focusing on regional cuisine. I think this is more than simply what’s in season (though if you go to the farmer’s market and use that as your guide you’ll be eating quite a range of foods throughout the year), but also seeing what is unique about your area of the country. One awesome thing about the northeast is having such a range of seafood available. The Nations who lived here before the European colonists came over ate a LOT of shellfish, and when you live in a place which gets bitterly cold for part of the year and allows for no crops, you’re going to head right for that plentiful (and nutrient dense!) animal food.

One fish you can only really get here in the spring is shad. This is the season when they run up the Connecticut river and spawn. Which means not only is there delicious fish to be had, but also the roe.
I had shad roe for the first time last spring. I’m not quite sure how to describe the taste outside of being somewhat fish-like, but it’s also a little chewy. If you have an issue with texture, work your way around it and seek this out. Roe of any fish is an excellent addition to your diet.
From Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon-Morrell:
“Fish eggs are valued by traditional peoples throughout the world for their ability to prevent problems of the thyroid gland, promote fertility, and nourish pregnant women and growing children.”


Fresh shad roe.

I had the roe for dinner last Wednesday, cooked up using the simple shad roe recipe from Nourishing Traditions. (page 315) We didn’t have any paprika in the house, so instead my mother used cayenne pepper which meant it was a little spicier. I also encourage you to use the lemon juice at the end. This is something which I find wants an acid.

Simple Shad Roe

1 shad roe (2 lobes)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tablespoons vinegar (raw apple cider, in this house)
4 tablespoons butter
1 tsp paprika
sea salt and pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Place roe in a pan and cover with a mixture of filtered water, salt, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 10 minutes. Place roe in a colander and rinse with cold water. Using a sharp knife, peel off as much of the membrane as you can and cut out the vein.
Place roe in a baking dish and sprinkle with paprika. Season to taste. Pour melted butter over. Broil until golden, turn and broil other side. Serve with lemon wedges.


The final product.

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday. Check out the carnival to see what other real foodies are up to this week!

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4 responses to “Regional real food delicacies: Shad roe

  1. My mom likes to make roe pickle whenever I visit her in Thailand. I love this recipe. It makes me think of home. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I’ve never been able to bring myself to eat roe of any kind, but I did have shad once! It is the most amazing tasting fish that I’ve ever had, with the one problem of teeny tiny sharp bones that can’t be removed no matter how hard you try. 😦 Neither of us can stand fish bones (except like in canned sardines where they’re soft). Still, absolutely yummy fish.

    • syncreticmystic

      It’s definitely in a taste category of its own, and I have gotten adventurous with food enough to where it doesn’t seem all that odd.
      I will agree that shad itself is also a great fish! I had some last week. So yummy and so filling. I eat so much fish too that I am used to letting it dissolve a little in my mouth in case some bones wanted to slip by.

      Thanks for the comment. 🙂

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