The shad are running, and you know what that means. Fish are swimming into the freshwater estuaries to spawn, and shad roe is popping up in restaurants around town. The coastal delicacy consists of two flat, connected sacs filled with hundreds of thousands of eggs. It looks more like a liver than the typical fish roe you might have encountered before. Traditionally, it's prepared with scrambled eggs or grits and served for breakfast. The roe is available for a few brief weeks in early spring, so we called around to see who's got it on their menu this weekend.
Chef Sean Brock at McCrady's is nestling a sac of shad roe on a small bed of Sea Island white flint corn grits. The delicate little treat is topped with country ham marmalade, baby swiss chard, and green garlic purée.
At Hominy Grill, Chef Robert Stehling sautés the shad roe and serves it with bacon, mushrooms, asparagus, lemon, garlic, and Tabasco. The ensemble is served with creamy Edisto cheese grits. Stehling prepares the grits by broiling them with butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and Tabasco. "Shad roe is a good brunch item that goes well with scrambled eggs," he says.
Slightly North of Broad prepares the shad roe by simply wrapping it in bacon and searing it in a pan. The delicacy is then served with Timms Mill stone-ground grits. "The dish is only around for a few weeks and the shad roe is shipped from 45 miles away," says Sous Chef Kristin Osborne. "It's something that shouldn't be missed."
FIG prepares shad roe with a bit of an Italian twist, wrapping the roe in pancetta and searing it in a pan. The pancetta is shipped from salumi masters Salumeria Biellese in New York City. The pancetta-wrapped roe is then plated with creamy spinach, pan-roasted cauliflower, capers, and brown butter. "We don't overwhelm the customer with the shad roe," says Sous Chef Jason Stanhope. "We serve it with a local flair that accents the dish instead of disrupting it."