Roasted Shad


When springtime comes, can shad be far behind?

Not in Connecticut!

Lucky us. The shad are running, swimming their way through the Connecticut River to spawn, on their way to the ocean.

The season is short, so get your fill now. (FYI, shad do run through other rivers along the east and west coasts so you can get it too.)

If you've never tasted shad, a herring cousin, you've missed out. It's one of the most tender of fish and it's loaded with omega-3 fat, which means it's not only healthy but also big on flavor.

The big problem with shad is the bones. There are lots of them, very very thin bones. A Native American tale says that shad was once a porcupine who turned inside out when it went into the water.

I managed to buy the filets already deboned, (which you can do at many fish markets). Many shad recipes call for cooking the fish at low temperatures for a long time (250 degrees for several hours), because the bones melt in the slow heat. But for a quick, tasty meal try the easy recipe below.

If you can't get deboned shad it's still worth eating because it tastes so good. You can also substitute any herring, trout, bluefish or mackerel filets.

ROASTed Shad with Thyme and Raisins

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 4 deboned shad filets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • thin slices of lemon

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the raisins on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the shad filets on top. Mix the olive oil and mustard and brush over each filet. Sprinkle the filets with lemon juice, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Place lemon slices on top of each filet. Roast for about 8 minutes or until lightly crispy. 

Makes 4 servings