Spinach, mellowed here with mushrooms, balances the nutty flavor of the roe and frames it on the plate. This simple recipe, which also goes well with the fillet, makes a nice change from the usual almonds, capers or bacon. One pair of roe for two people is less than the traditional serving of the past, but roe is dense and rich, and within a whole meal one pair for two is quite sufficient. When you buy shad roe, its outer membrane will have been removed; keep the inner membrane intact.
Makes 2 servings.
1 bunch tender, young spinach (about 12 ounces)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 shallot, chopped
1 pair shad roe
Salt and pepper to taste
Stem and wash the spinach well. Let it drain in a colander while you cook the mushrooms; the leaves shouldn't be completely dry.
Melt half the butter in a medium-size saucepan; toss in the mushrooms and sauté over medium heat about 5 minutes in all, stirring occasionally, until they give up their liquid. As they begin to color, stir in the shallot.
Add the spinach all at once and, in a circular motion, gradually fold the leaves into the mushrooms to wilt them in the juices on the bottom. When the spinach is barely wilted, take the pan off the heat; cover and set aside.
Heat the remaining butter in a pan just large enough to hold the roe in one layer. Put the roe in and gently sauté it on one side for 5 minutes. With a spatula carefully turn and sauté about 5 minutes on the other side. The roe should be crisp and lightly browned on the outside, slightly springy (not soft) when you touch it with your fingertips. Do not let it dry out and become hard. Salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, gently reheat the spinach mixture if necessary. Spoon some of it on each of two warm plates and nestle one crescent of roe on top.