Shad Roe Sac
pair of shad roe

Sometimes it’s a bit dangerous for me to venture into the grocery store–I happen on to something that I hadn’t planned to buy. That happens especially with some seasonal specialties that appear without warning because you never know quite when they are going to be available.

So we’ve had groundhog day, and we’re looking toward the vernal equinox (20th of March, I believe)–all suggesting that spring is on the way. I have a particular sign of spring that I’m always looking for: shad roe. Today I made its unpredictable appearance at my local Harris Teeter fish market. I never know quite how I’m going to fix it once I get it home–but it usually comes down to something with brown butter and some other seasonings like lemon, or something very simple so that the focus is the shad rod itself.

Whilst skulking about on the web, I found this delightful post on The Garum Factory about its history and preparation that I want to reblog –I couldn’t do it  better.  This looks like a great way to prepare it. Another post worth reading if you’re new to shad roe is from the second lunch.

Now off to put my shad roe in the salt water!  I’m now ready to think that spring really is on the way!

George Washington Ate Here – Shad Roe with Brown Butter, Capers and Ginger from The Garum Factory appears below.

The Garum Factory

You will never see it on a restaurant menu.  The TV Food Network is unlikely to devote an hour to its history and preparation.  It is one of the great forgotten foods of American culinary culture.  I’m talking about the shad.  The sole remnant of its once mighty role in the diet of Americans is its roe, and for a certain segment of avid pescavores it’s the line in the sand between winter and spring.  This week we’re going where food blogs don’t usually tread – Shad Roe with Brown Butter, Capers and Ginger.   Believe me, it’s worth it.

There is a story–a fish story?–proffered by historian Henry Emerson Wildes in his book Valley Forge about the importance of shad to the revolutionary war effort.  In the spring of 1778 the tattered and hungry Continental Army was encamped in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, where it had been since the onset of…

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