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Friday, February 26, 2016

Alose or Grande Alose; Shad or Allis Shad on French Menus.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman

Allis Shad
Shad or Allis shad are mild but tasty fish and in the season, between April and June, a fish that will be on many  French menus.  A restaurant may offer thin slices of marinated or smoked shad or shad roe as an hors d'oeuvre with filets of shad as the main dish.  Shad are a bony fish and having the restaurant handle all those bones is a joy; the fish will be grilled, poached or sautéed. Most Shad are caught when they are already mature and returning to their home river to spawn; a small shad will usually weigh at least 700 grams. 
Eagles also like Shad.
 Believe it or not but shad are part of the herring family; however, in the kitchen shad are cooked very differently to their smaller herring cousins. After the first bite, you will never compare a shad with a herring.
Shad on French menus:  
Alose au Cidre –Shad poached in cider.
Alose à l'Oseille - Shad baked with sorrel, the herb. 
Salade d'Oeufs d'Alose Sauce Gribiche.-  A salad of shad roe eggs. Shad roe is a delicacy, and here they are served with a Sauce Gribiche.  Gribiche is a mayonnaise based sauce made with hard-boiled egg yolks, mustard, and cornichons. 
Alose Fumée, Rémoulade de Concombre, Radis, Oignons à la Crème de Tamara et Ciboulette -   Smoked Shad served with a Cucumber Sauce Rémoulade, radishes and onions accompanied by a cream of taramasalata flavored with chives.  The Cucumber Sauce Rémoulade is made with mayonnaise, mustard, cooked egg yolks, oil and  thinly sliced cucumber.

Shad caught at the mouth of a river.
Alose de Loire, Beurre Blanc – Shad caught in the Loire River, the longest river in France; 1,020 km (634 miles).  The fish will have been caught close to where the river reaches the sea when they are returning to the river to spawn. Here the fish will have been lightly fried in a Beurre Blanc Sauce.  Beurre Blanc Sauce is one of the most favored French sauces for fish and seafood. Sauce Beurre Blanc or Sauce Beurre Nantaise is made with butter, a dry white wine, lemon, and shallots. 
Fileted shad with its roe on the side ready for the grill.
Pavé d'Alose Meunière, Fenouil Braisé et Légumes Printaniers - A thick cut of Shad prepared in a Sauce Meunier and served with braised fennel, the herb, and spring vegetables. A Sauce Meunier is a superb sauce for fish and very simply made; it is clarified butter, lemon juice, and parsley. 
Shad are born in freshwater rivers and streams, and like salmon, they spend most of their lives in the sea before returning to their homeland streams to spawn. When they return to spawn, that is when most shad are caught, at the entrance to the rivers.
Shad in the languages of France’s neighbors:
 (Catan -alosa ), (Dutch -elft ), (German – alse or maifisch), (Italian – aloa), (Spanish – sábalo).
  Shad in other languages:
Shad in other languages,
(Chinese (Mandarin) -   西鲱 )(Danish - majsild ), Greek- Κέπα – kepa), (Hebrew - aloza), (Maltese – lacca), (Norwegian -  maisild),  (Polish – aloza finta), (Portugues –sável), (Rumanian - scrumbie de mare),  (Russian - европейская алоза), (Swedish -  majfisk), (Turkish – tirsi)  
For assistance with the names of shad in other languages thanks go to: Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2016. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication, version (01/2016).
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Bryan G. Newman

Copyright 2010, 2016.
For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman

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