Asian-influenced sauce cuts through the richness of the shad roe, lightening it considerably
1 pound shad roe
salt and pepper to taste
32 large, unbroken spinach leaves
1/2 cup julienne of parsnip
1 knob of ginger, about thumb-size
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1. Cut the shad roe into 8 pieces. Salt and pepper well.
2. Remove heavy ribs from spinach leaves. Dip the leaves in hot water for a few seconds, or until just soft. Overlap the edges of four leaves, making one wide sheet of spinach, and place 1 piece of shad roe in the center. Sprinkle with a little lemon juice, and top with 1 tablespoon of parsnip. fold the spinach over the shad roe, making a neat bundle. Continue until 8 bundles are made.
3. Place the bundles in a steamer over boiling water and steam for 6 minutes.
4. Make the sauce: Grate the ginger until you have 2 teaspoons of shreds with juice. Mix it in a small bowl with the 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Let stand 10 minutes.
5. Place 1 steamed shad roe bundle on each of 8 small plates. Pour the sauce through a fine strainer, and drizzle it evenly over and around the bundles.
Note: If you wish a slightly prettier, but fussier, presentation, you could slice the bundles and fan them out on the plates. Also, if you wish to make a main course of this, serve 3 bundles a person, with rice on the side.
There are 3 important elements in this recipe. First of all, the shad is cooked in a water treatment (steaming), which helps to melt its fat. Secondly, it's cooked quickly, which helps it to retain its lovely texture. Lastly, a light, citric, Asian-influenced sauce cuts through the richness of the shad roe, lightening it considerably. Serves 8 as a first course