Taste of the Region #8: Shad

This entry in our Taste of the Region series is a bit different from the plucky recipes born out of necessity that have characterized the bulk of the series. The regional importance of shad, a fish whose Latin name means "fish most delicious" has long been known in both the Hudson River and other waterways like the Chesapeake Bay. But in recent years, spring Shad Bakes and Shad Festivals have emerged up and down the Hudson River as fundraisers for non-profit organizations.

The marriage of traditional food of the river and organizations that seek to preserve and improve the ecological and cultural health of the area is an obvious one. Shad spend most of their lives at sea, coming up the river only to spawn, so they are free of the pollutants normally associated with fish that live in the river.Shad Bakes in the area this season benefit a range of organizations and are excellent community activities. Here are links and locations to some of this years shad bakes:

Columbia Land Conservency Ghent, NY
Riverkeeper Garrison, NY
Hudson River Maritime Museum Kingston, NY
Hudson River Foundation in Catskill, Croton-on-Hudson, Nyack, New York, and Fort Lee, NJ

Here is a Shad recipe from Fannie Merritt Farmer, 1918:

Baked Shad Roe with Tomato Sauce
Cook shad roe fifteen minutes in boiling salted water to cover, with one-half tablespoon vinegar; drain, cover with cold water, and let stand five minutes. Remove from cold water, and place on buttered pan with three-fourths cup Tomato Sauce I or II. Bake twenty minutes in hot oven, basting every five minutes. Remove to a platter, and pour around three-fourths cup Tomato Sauce.

Posted by Natalie

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