by David Hagedorn, Washington Post
Posted: Friday, February 24, 2012 at 3:22PM EST
A few weeks ago, Dean Gold posted a comment on Facebook that caught my eye. Long a champion of local and sustainable products, the chef-owner of Dino, the rustic Italian enoteca in Cleveland Park, was rhapsodizing about a delivery of yellow perch on its way to him. The small fish had been caught in a Chesapeake estuary just the day before.
Although he declared perch’s flesh superb, there was something else he appreciated: “The real treat isn’t simply the sweet, meaty and mild flesh, but the roe [sac] that each fish contains. Much as with shad, the eggs are the best part of the fish. [They are] firm, moist and not fishy in any way.”
Yellow perch start making their way to the Chesapeake Bay’s shallow, estuarial waters in January in preparation for spawning in the spring; hence, the roe sacs. To preserve the spawning stock, Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources limits commercial yellow perch fishing in the upper part of the bay and the Patuxent and Chester rivers to a 48,220-pound quota and a short season: January, February and until March 10 or when the quota is reached, whichever comes first.
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