Shad, April To June. Recipe

Shad, also known as the "herring of the East Coast," is a delectable fish that is highly sought after during the spring months from April to June. It is particularly known for its rich, flavorful flesh and its significant historical importance to the East Coast region of the United States.

The shad has a long history that dates back to the Native Americans, who were the first to recognize its abundance as a food source. Later, European settlers discovered the exceptional taste and versatility of shad, leading to its popularity throughout the East Coast. In fact, shad became such an integral part of the region's culinary traditions that it even sparked a yearly ritual known as the "shad runs," when people gather along the rivers to witness the migration of these fascinating fish.

Fun Fact: Did you know that George Washington, the first President of the United States, was a big fan of shad? He even noted in his diaries the various ways in which he enjoyed this delectable fish.

Now, let's dive into a delicious recipe to make the most of the shad's season:

Shad with Lemon Butter Sauce

- 2 whole shad, scaled, gutted, and filleted
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- Lemon wedges, for serving


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Rinse the shad fillets under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. Season the fillets with salt and pepper on both sides.

2. In a large oven-safe skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shad fillets, skin-side down, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the skin becomes crispy and golden brown. Flip the fillets and transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Bake for 7-10 minutes until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and fresh parsley.

4. Once the shad fillets are cooked, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a serving platter. Drizzle with the lemon butter sauce and garnish with additional chopped parsley. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

This delightful shad recipe brings out the natural flavors of the fish while adding a touch of tanginess from the lemon butter sauce. The crispy skin adds an enjoyable contrast in texture, elevating the dish to new heights.

Fun Fact: Shad is known for its versatility in cooking. Apart from being oven-baked, it can also be grilled, smoked, or even pickled!

Similar recipe dishes to explore during other times of the year include smelts, which are available from November 10th to April. Smelts are small fish that share similar characteristics and taste profiles with shad.

One popular way to prepare smelts is to lightly dredge them in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, then deep-fry them until they turn crispy and golden brown. Serve them with a squeeze of lemon and a side of tartar sauce for a delightful seafood experience.

Whether you choose to enjoy shad during its prime season or experiment with recipes using smelts, these fish present a fantastic opportunity to indulge in the East Coast's culinary delights. So, gather your ingredients, try out these recipes, and savor the flavors of the sea!



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