OMG! What is that thing! You aren’t going to eat it. Are you?

Cod's Roe So went the cry from youngest daughter as I carved the cod’s roe. Opinions are divided. Lisa in George’s Fish Shop had encouraged me to buy and try. The gentleman beside me suggested (in a deep Dublin accent) “Boil it with a splash of vinegar. Have it with a mug of tea. Gorgeous.” Graham, Lisa’s brother and a more refined individual suggested “Boil it with lemon juice.” Both daughters were with me and refused to allow me buy the cod’s roe.

A week later and I was back. I got Graham to add the roe to my shop and I brought it home. If Graham is refined, as we believe him to be, I am surely a more sophisticated and erudite gentleman. I say this because I decided to poach (not boil) mine in onion, carrot, celery, peppercorns and bay leaves.

Poaching liquor

The roe went into this and was simmered for 20 minutes.

All so I could serve the Wife and myself a lunch of Fried Cod’s Roe with Poached Eggs and Brown Bread. There is no ingredients list apart from that above and a bit of salt and pepper to season. So, let’s get on with the awfulness. 

Cod's Roe

Out of the pot to cool. “It looks like something Sigourney Weaver had to fight in Alien” remarked an observer.

I think it’s time for  a slicing shot.

Cod's Roe

Sliced roe. Shot number one. Don’t be put off. I have to fry it yet.

You will get a better view from over here. 

Cod's Roe

An amazing number of tiny, tiny cod eggs in a big sack.

All that was left to do was to get the Wife to make some brown bread and fry the stuff while the bread cooled.

Cod's Roe

Other daughter wandered in and looked in the pan. “That looks tasty, what is it?” I was tempted to lie but I couldn’t. Amazing how quickly one can change one’s view.

I served it with poached eggs and brown bread. My friend Denis Goodbody reminded me of an old ditty that is particularly appropriate to this post.

The Codfish
By: Anonymous

The codfish lays ten thousand eggs,
The homely hen lays one.
The codfish never cackles
To tell you what she’s done.
And so we scorn the codfish,
While the humble hen we prize,
Which only goes to show you
That it pays to advertise.

Cod's Roe

We got them both in on the act. Very tasty and gory fun.

We certainly didn’t scorn the codfish. Very tasty and fun to produce. Though, probably not so for the cod. 

Would you be tempted?

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Latest comments
  • Hi Conor. Nice one! I’ll have to try but intrigued to get some tasting notes from you. When I poached sole roes in a similar way (http://mattsbread.wordpress.com/recipes/june-2012/lemon-sole-fillets-with-brown-butter-samphire-and-butter-poached-roes/) the flavour was very delicate. Did cod have more oomph?

    • Hi Matthew, A pretty decent oomph indeed. Nicely fishy and a good vehicle for the salt and pepper added. In short, it worked very well with the poached eggs and brown bread.
      Best,
      Conor

  • They sell roe from several fish in the fish here in Sri Lanka – all equally large and of varying colours from pinky-red to pale buttery yellow. I’ve often wondered how they cook it, but now I’m really interested to find out and try.

    • It’s really easy to do and worth the little bit of effort. Give it a go!

  • My Catalonian side of the family loves roe. We’ll poach it and serve it in a salad with potatoes, peppers and a vinaigrette. I love it. The more squeamish people out there, the more for the rest of us!

    • Good attitude. I doubt I would buy it on a weekly basis but as it’s only available here in a short window, it needs to be enjoyed.

  • That looks mighty fine, Conor. I think you missed a trick by not getting you egg hen into a shot and aren’t, those eggs coddled or some such thing rather than poached? The roe though does look so much more tasty once fried.

    • Hi Adam, I neglected to include the hen for sure. The eggs were poached using a pastry cutter to hold them in place. I did try the roe before frying. I think it needs it.

  • I’m with Mr. Driver above… love to hear about the taste and texture.

  • Absolutley be tempted – and I’d just say it was White Pudding – looks v similar so long as they only saw it cut up – in it’s natural state I’m not sure I could describe it…

    • It was pretty difficult to handle before the poaching. That firmed it up a good deal. White fish pudding would cover it!

      • I’ll try it out on the kids and get back to you….

  • Certainly looks lovely – I’m sure I’d give it a crack… sounds like mass murder to me 😀

    • Thanks Nick, The mass murder had taken place before I got my hands on it.

  • Delicious! It may look a bit alien to begin with, but I used to love roe fritters a a kid, and never grew out of it.

  • Yes, I would also love hear about the taste– I have never had roe.

    • Hi Scott, Fishy in a good way with a bit of a crunch. It is very seasonal and perhaps fish stocks would be a lot healthier if they were not caught during the spawning season.

  • I have taken the roe of bluegill (a freshwater pond/lake fish), rinsed it, battered it in cornmeal and fried it. Interesting flavor and texture, not very fishy. I wonder why not?

    • I bet it was the rinsing. The cod roe was fishy in a nice way. They say it is a ‘superfood’. Whatever that is?

  • Great post! I eat it but am not crazy about it. Nice technique and combination with more eggs.

    This reminds me of a dinner we had two years ago at an authentic kaiseiki restaurant in Tokyo. We were served a cod’s milt custard in an orange. Cod’s milt is the male version of the roe, so to speak. We did not know what we were eating but it was tasty enough. The waiter was very embarrased when we asked him what it was, and most Japanese around us did not touch it. Kees bragged about it at home, saying we were the only ones who had lukewarm custard of cod sperm, as he called it…

    • Cod sperm custard might be a step too far for me. However, I have never been offered it, so I possibly will never know.

  • Delicious – I love cod’s roe 😉

    • Good stuff MD. I suspect I will become a regular, seasonal buyer.

  • One of my favourite dishes when I can get the roe! Have to make the usual silly comment that I do wish I could reach into the screen etc et al . . . Smoked roe is very eay to get here . . . taramasalata and all that stuff 🙂 !

  • I remember eating various (undoubtedly freshwater and much smaller) fish roes as a kid. I think I liked them. Conor, no matter what the subject, you always take a great picture of it!

    • Thanks Michelle. I appreciate the comment. I do struggle with the photo end of things. Nearly as much as I d with the cooking.

  • I would most certainly try it, Conor, though I doubt I’ll ever get the chance. I’ve never seen it here and doubt that I will this far inland without special ordering it. Then again, one never knows … 😉

    • Hopefully, it will be one of those things that you are totally unaware about until you read about it and then it’s everywhere!

  • that looks damn fine! And nicely poached eggs too, my good man.

  • You’ve truly surprised me with this one, Conor. But any post that goes from horror to a good laugh has to be good. Well done.

  • Well, fried up and served with eggs and home-made brown bread…it does look delicious! I would certainly have a taste if it was offered to me, but I don’t think I would ever go through the process of preparing it myself.

    • There is a touch of gory fun in doing it. Particularly when one can frighten the children with one’s lunch.

  • All these years I’ve been enjoying taramosalata and never had an idea what the cod roe actually looked like — a little like foie gras, no? I bet it was quite creamy tasting. On first look, I might have said no to trying it, but you’ve won me over.

  • Love the idea. My godmother used to make it in Puerto Rico! Love it…no horror here…except for the part about what’s going on with the fisheries. Fantastic post!

  • Here in Indonesia, we used to make a nice thick curry with the fish roe….

    • That sounds fantastic Deddy. The roe are now out of season here. Next year….

  • Such a brave man. Got to ad,it though, it looks so tempting and appetizing. Truly it does 😉

  • I think that whoever cleans the fish must keep it for themselves as I have never seen fish roe in any market.

    • Hi Karen, Very seasonal indeed, as one would imagine.

  • You can get all sorts of fish roe from Bangladeshi fish. I’ve been eating it since I’m a child. Totally love it! Great post!! 🙂

    • Fried with the fish in onions and garlic with small sprinkle of curry powder or in fish curries themselves!

      • Sounds delicious. I must try it next season.
        Best,
        Conor

  • Hi Conor! I currently live in Spain and actually had cod roe yesterday for lunch as some tapas. I like them 🙂

    • Hi Sofia, thanks for stopping by. I am amazed at the reaction from around the world about the roe. Pity I could not get the youngest to even taste it.
      Best,
      Conor

  • Had fish roe recently, ‘masala-fied’ though. Going to try it your way now. BTW, love the last shot, eggs get me drooling but this picture started a small river! 🙂

    • I reckon they would be great with masala. I must try it next year, when they are back in season.

  • Ugh… after reading your post and seeing the first couple of pictures, I actually feel decidedly queasy :/ Though, if I just saw the last picture with that lovely crispy crust, I’d probably think ‘yum!’ in the first instance! It’s funny just how much the ‘visual’ aspect of food affects our entire experience. Your blog is pretty awesome… so informative. The meat techniques are definitely something I want to read more about! I’ve never been good at cooking large ‘chunks’ of meat. I recently invested in a meat thermometer in the hope that it’ll help me to get roasts perfect… but I haven’t used it yet. Thanks for sharing this decidedly strange food with us. Poor cod-mother. I feel a little sorry for it!

    • Hi Laura, Thanks for the kind comments. I do agree that the opening shot is a little off-putting but, it is what it is. I would love if there was some sensible way of allowing the fish their spawning time. It would go a long way to helping restore stocks. I too feel a bit for the cod-mother. However, her billions of babies were tasty.
      Best,
      Conor

  • Excellent post! That scene in the fishmonger’s with the daughter could have come straight out of my own family life. Very interesting depiction of the roe too. We primarily see shad roe here, and you could never slice and fry it after poaching–the eggs seem much larger and they don’t really stay together, so you need to either poach the sac and then stir the loose eggs into something like scrambled eggs or pasta, or you fry the entire roe sack and serve up the lobe (or half) to each person. I wonder if all of our cod roe is being shipped to you guys. Really great post. Ken

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