Scampi is a term used to denote a special kind of sea food preparation. Certain species of prawns are also known by the name scampi particularly those belonging to the species Nephrops norvegicus found in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. The shrimp classified as Macrobrachium rosenbergii is also known as the scampi in India. The scampi recipe is usually simple with the shrimps being sautéed or boiled and served in accompaniment to a garlic and butter sauce. The recipe is popular all across the United States of America and Canada while the Italians call the Dublin Bay prawns as scampi. The different meanings for the same word often give rise to confusion. Certain food dictionaries also refer to the term scampi as the plural of the Italian word scampo meaning prawns.
History Of Scampi Recipe
The shrimp scampi was first mentioned in the American cookbooks published in 1920. It referred to a dish cooked with shrimps which had been basted with olive oil, white wine, garlic and butter. The Italian scampi recipe gained popularity in America after the World War II with the Tenakill Restaurant of New Jersey being the first to advertise the dish. The Norway lobster started replacing the Dublin Bay prawns gradually in Britain in the 1950s and 60s. The scampi recipe from Italy recommended deep frying the large lobster tails after they had been coated in breadcrumbs.
Popular Scampi Recipes
The Americans prefer to broil the scampi before serving them with garlic and butter sauce. Olive oil is usually used to prepare the dish according to the traditional scampi recipe. The Italians, on the other hand, cook the scampi in a variety of ways with the most common scampi recipe using olive oil, parsley and garlic apart from jumbo sized shrimps. The sauce is also used for serving other kinds of sea food based dishes. The method of cooking the scampi varies from region to region as well with some preferring the shrimps to be boiled while the others eat it baked. Frying and broiling are also equally popular when it comes to the scampi recipe. Serving the shrimps with their shells on is popular in parts of Italy too. The Americans usually throw the scampi in boiling water, devein them and remove their shells before serving them with the butter sauce. Basting them with a little olive oil while the shrimps get broiled on a bed of charcoal is another favorite scampi recipe popular all over the country. The shells of the scampi crack on being exposed to the intense heat and they are then served with a sprinkling of lime juice and black pepper without any salt. The char broiled scampi are shelled at the dining table itself. Scampi Used In Different Cuisines Parts of Europe and America use scampi as the main ingredient while preparing a number of dishes. However, it is the preparation themselves that have been popularized as the scampi instead of the prawns. The countries that consume shrimps, prawns and lobsters in the form of scampi are:-
• USA- Shrimps served with garlic, butter and wine. A popular variation of this dish is made with chicken instead of the shellfish.
• UK- Norway lobster covered with batter and deep fried. Fried shrimps served with chips are also popular across Great Britain and Ireland. • Greece- Baked shrimps served with Parmesan cheese.
• Italy- Fried shrimps served with linguine pasta and black pepper. • Japan-Witloaf cooked with orange and olive oil is topped with shallow fried shrimps seasoned with herbs.
Variations Of The Scampi
While the basic recipe for cooking the scampi remains popular, there have been quite a few variations of this popular dish too. Some of the variations consumed by the Americans are:-
• Barbecued Shrimps- Marinated shrimps are skewered and grilled on an open barbeque.
• Garlic Shrimp- The dish uses twice the amount of garlic that is served with the basic recipe.
• Californian Shrimp- Sage and Marjoram are added to fried shrimps.
• Hot & Spicy- Pepper flakes and Worcestershire sauce is added to the basic recipe.
• With Vegetables- Served with grilled bell peppers and button mushrooms. Nutritional Facts Of Scampi A single serving of shrimp scampi contains 310 calories with more than half of it being obtained from fats. The shrimps are particularly rich in calcium along with vitamins A, D and B6 with adequate amounts of zinc and phosphorus being available from them as well. However, it is best to consume it in moderation as it contains quite a high amount of cholesterol. Scampi: Trivia
• Le Scampi is a restaurant in France which is renowned for serving fresh sea food including the scampi.
• 29th of April is celebrated as the National Shrimp Scampi Day across the United States of America.