Each spring the mouths of the Danube river are the set of a natural spectacle: the Pontic shad migration. In Sfântu Gheorghe village this event is in closely linked to the local community traditions. Fishermen go out to the Black Sea or to the Danube itself round-the-clock, to take advantage of the short natural bounty. During the shad season you can find it on villager’s tables in different recipes: in soups, fried, grilled, smoked, or marinated.
We spoke with Tanti Steliana, one of our local partners, about how to marinate shad. If you happen to find this special fish, you can try the recipe for yourself. Though it would be much better to make time to go and taste it at its origins, where it surely tastes the best!
- Scale and gut the shad, cut in pieces the widths of an index finger.
- Wash the chunks repeatedly to get rid of all the blood, letting it soak for about half an hour for best results.
- Drain and salt well. Covered in salt, arrange the pieces side by side and leave for three days (any shorter and it will taste raw).
- Wash again and leave in water for one to two hours to thoroughly rinse the salt.
- While it is soaking, prepare the marinade: one litre of vinegar to every three litres of water, one spoonful of salt and one of sugar, peppercorns to taste and a couple of bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and set aside to cool (it’s very important that it is thoroughly cooled).
- Take the fish out of the water and drain well. Put in a large bowl and cover with the marinade, mixing well.
- The next day, it is good to eat.
If you wish to keep the marinated fish longer, put the chunks in a jar, cover in marinade, and place in the fridge for up to two weeks. Marinating shad is not done for long-term preservation, but for its spectacular taste. It is therefore a seasonal food. For preserving fish over winter, salting and smoking is used. But about that, a future post!
Find out more here about the vulnerable conservation status of the Pontic shad, talk to your local host about how you can contribute to its conservation through responsible consumption or read our previous entry about Wild fish, wild food.