Tuesday, April 27, 2010


American Shad. It's the official state of Connecticut fish. Really. Here's proof.

It's also delicious. Imagine crossing arctic char with mackerel but removing the latter's powerful pungency. The fish thrives in the Connecticut river.

In the early 1990s, when I lived in Chester (pictured above is the ferry between Chester and Hadlyme) right on the river, the shad were so copious that they kicked up whitecaps. In recent years, runs have been much reduced.

Unfortunately, shad season is short, only a week or two. If you see it, you buy it because it's fresh and won't last. I bought three pieces last weekend and broiled them. Salt, pepper and some lemon after it's done. Superb.

Another way to cook shad is in a pan on the stove. You don't need olive oil or butter. As you cook, the fish releases its oil in which it then cooks. A couple of minutes on each side and finish in a hot oven.

If you're in Connecticut in the spring and shad is on the menu, order it. You won't regret it.

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