Herring and mackerel are familiar to most diners. So what's roaming in nearby waters that's similar to those household fishes? It's shad. Starting in March, the saltwater fish makes its way up from the Southern Atlantic Ocean and back to northern freshwaters where they spawn. And where they're apt to end up is on a plate near you.
Known for having an oily texture, many chefs soak the fish in milk or buttermilk to rid the filets of any fishy flavor. It's often paired with bacon or prosciutto. There are two reasons for shad's limited availability on menus. One, the season is incredibly short and only lasts a few weeks from March through April. And two, shad is ridden with tiny bones, making it difficult even for the expert fishmonger to clean. Some chefs slow-roast the shad to melt those tiny bones, while others opt to skip the filets entirely and focus on serving the fish's roe.
Here are 10 places to find shad and shad roe on menus right now.