The largest member of the herring family, it has a slight oiliness to it and a mildly sweet flavor that resembles pompano and salmon. Shad is an anadromous fish, which means that it is born in freshwater and then migrates to saltwater to mature and then returns to freshwater to spawn. This fish is hard to fillet because of its many small bones so it may be desirable to purchase it already filleted, otherwise, it can be steamed or baked at a low temperature for more than six hours, until the bones disintegrate. Female shad is more in demand than male because they are fatter and larger, and because they contain the desired roe.
To check the fish for doneness, use the tip of a sharp knife and cut through the thickest part of the fillet. If the fish has been properly cooked, the meat will appear opaque but will still be moist.