Fish & Seafood

Blackened Shad Roe & Sautéed in Butter

Shad was known as elft, the eleven fish, to the early Dutch settlers. It was on the 11th day of March each year that the first shad were caught and cooked on a plank, a method the settlers learned from the Indians. Shad were so abundant in colonial days that it became quite fashionable among some of the well-to-do. Many of them ate shad on the sly, fearing others would think them unable to afford more expensive food.

Shad is particularly bony fish. An Indian legend has it that the shad was a discontented porcupine that asked the gods to be changed, following which it was turned inside out.

Shad has a rich, sweet, very distinctive flavor, a high-fat content, and perfect texture for broiling, baking, pan-frying, or poaching. A further harbinger of the advent of spring is yet another special treatment given to us by the shad – the delicious and delicate roe.

Shad roe comes in skeins or sets, joined by a thin membrane. One important rule when you cook the roe, always handle the roe with great care and don’t separate the halves until after you’ve cooked them. Also, plunging them into iced water before you cook them will firm them up a bit, then always cook them gently only until they are opaque or slightly firm, 8 to 10 minutes at most.

Blackened Shad Roe & Sautéed in Butter

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  • 1 pair of shad roe
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp blackened seasoning
  • salt and lemon juice 



Melt the butter in a skillet but do not let it get hot and smoking.


Dip the roe lightly in blackened seasoning and place in the pan.


Let it simmer in butter, turning once during the cooking process.


Season with salt and lemon juice, and serve with fresh salad.


Many people think shad roe should be parboiled or broiled, but such is not the case. This makes it hard and dry, whereas shad roe should be tender and juicy.

Photography was done by my husband because I was busy making him dinner-))

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  • Reply
    Angie Schneider
    March 27, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    I have never had shad roe, let alone made one myself. Wish I could get to taste some of yours :-)) I bet it's delicious.

  • Reply
    La Table De Nana
    March 27, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    I have never cooked this..Thanks for filling me in about it Yelena..

  • Reply
    March 29, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    I love fried fish roe, Yelena! Did your family like it? We always fight to have the last piece 😉

  • Reply
    March 30, 2015 at 2:53 am

    Meli, my husband and I are eating fish roe, but our kids don't like it-))) For us it is very tasty and delicate. I am glad you like it too. I wonder how you are cooking it?

  • Leave a Reply

    Cooking Melangery