Ranging from 3 to 6 pounds, shad is the largest member of the American herring family (Alosa sapidissima). Shad are anadromous, meaning that they migrate from their saltwater habitat to spawn in fresh water. They have a moderately firm beige-colored flesh that's distinctively rich but replete with bones. Shad lends itself to baking and grilling. Shad roe is a much sought-after springtime delicacy. The roe is encased in two delicately transparent oval-shaped membranes. These roe-filled sacs can be sautéed, poached or broiled and should be cooked just until the center is slightly pink. Shad roe has a rich, slightly sweet nutty flavor.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.