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Seared Shad Fillets with Granny Smith Vinaigrette

Seared Shad Fillets with Granny Smith Vinaigrette

Tart Granny Smith apples act as the acidic agent here, lightening the richness of shad with a marvelous vinaigrette. And we employ an unusual technique to get the most out of your shad fillets: cooking the dark meat of the filet separately, until it's crunchy. The result is an almost bacon-like quality that enables the shad itself to stand in for the real bacon that's often paired with this fish. Serves 4

SKU 898-Recipe

  • 4 Serves


  • 2 whole filleted shad (about one pound each)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • instant flour for dredging (preferably Wondra)
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, cored and finely diced (skin on)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons hazelnut oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon plus tarragon leaves for garnish


  1. Place a cast-iron skillet over high heat and heat until very hot, about 5 minutes.
  2. Cut the shad fillets into light-meat sections (no skin) and dark-meat sections (skin attached). The light meat is an inner flap of the boned shad fillet that separates easily. (You should have about 1 pound of light meat and an equal amount of dark meat with skin attached. You will need only 1/4 pound dark meat with skin attached for this recipe; reserve 3/4 pound of the dark meat with skin attached for another use.)
  3. Cut the 1 pound of light-meat shad fillets into 4 portions. Season it and the 1/4 pound of dark meat with salt and pepper, then flour lightly with instant flour.
  4. When the pan is hot, add all the shad. Cook the light-meat fillets, turning frequently to make sure they don't stick, about 2 minutes per side. Remove when just cooked (they should be browned on the outside, just past pink on the inside). Continue to cook the dark-meat pieces with skin, pressing down with a spatula to make them as crunchy as possible. Remove when crackling brown.
  5. Make the vinaigrette at the last minute: Beat together the apple, the vinegar, the hazelnut oil, and the 2 teaspoons of chopped tarragon.
  6. To serve, divide the light-meat fillets among 4 plates. Top with diced apples removed from the vinaigrette with a slotted spoon. Mince the crunchy dark meat finely, and top the apples with that. Pour the remainder of the vinaigrette over and around the fish. Garnish with fresh tarragon leaves.