Recipe Finder: Slow-Baked Shad

March 25, 2012|By Julie Rothman, Special To The Baltimore Sun

Wanda Reynolds from Baltimore was looking for a recipe for baked shad. She remembered seeing a recipe for making the fish some years ago in a local newspaper. She thought the recipe called for a long baking time that helped soften the bones.

Pamela Green from Arnold sent in a recipe that she says she found in either The Washington Post or the Capital in Annapolis in the 1980s that calls for wrapping the fish in foil and baking it for six hours at a very low temperature.

Shad, a true harbinger of spring, is notorious for having many small bones that are difficult to remove before cooking. This slow-cooking method softens the smaller bones to the point that they can be eaten along with the meat, like the bones in canned salmon or sardines.

Although there are purists who argue that cooking the fish for so long diminishes the shad's delicate flavor, there are those who feel that the absence of bones is adequate compensation for any minor loss of flavor. If you like the taste and texture of sardines, you probably will enjoy this preparation.


Florence Martin, originally from Paris and now living in Baltimore, would like to have a good recipe for making a traditional Jewish-style brisket. Janet Whitman from Randallstown is looking for the recipe for what she calls Breakfast Rice. Back in the 1960s she found the recipe in a booklet put out by Minute brand rice. It was made with Minute rice, milk, raisins and vanilla.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, and The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. You can also email If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.

Slow-baked shad

Makes 4-6 servings

1 whole shad (3 pounds or larger), scaled and gutted

2 tablespoons vinegar

4 slices bacon

3-4 onions, peeled and sliced

4-6 white potatoes, peeled and sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat an oven to 250 degrees. Rinse fish in cold water. Pat dry. Cut gashes about 1/4 inch apart along both sides of the whole dressed shad. Place shad on a large piece of aluminum foil. Sprinkle vinegar on fish. Place bacon slices on top of fish. Surround fish with sliced onions and sliced potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold and tightly seal aluminum foil and place in baking pan. Bake for six hours.

Transfer the wrapped fish to a deep platter and slit open one side of the foil (it will release a lot of juices). Carefully slide out the fish and discard the foil. To serve, use a fork and spoon to pull pieces of meat away from the backbone and ribs; the remaining bones are edible. Spoon the juices over each portion. Serve with steamed new potatoes or rice.

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