Thursday, August 16, 2007

Scampi

To say "shrimp scampi" is a repetition...in Italian, scampi means shrimp (though in this area, at least, gamberi is the word most commonly used). There are numerous ways to prepare the little critters; unfortunately, here in the bel paese most of those ways involve the entire creature...heads, peels and all. Not so hard if it's a plate of large shrimp simply prepared. When it's a sauce it's definitely more of a challenge, especially keeping your shirt clean while you're cleaning the shrimp. I really like the flavor of the pesce fritto here, but I don't see the point in keeping the shrimp whole and then frying it...you have to peel off all that good coating to eat the things!

In the summer when we want to keep the house cool and cook in hurry I like to make this shrimp dish. It's done in minutes and can be eaten as is or served over pasta or rice, making it versatile as well.

Large shrimp
extra virgin olive oil
a clove of garlic, minced
about 1/2 cup white wine
a couple good shakes of peperoncino (crushed red chile flakes)
salt and pepper
about a tablespoon of chopped parsley
about 1 teaspoon of prepared pesto sauce
a squeeze of lemon

In a skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic until slightly softened. Add the shrimp and stir-fry a minute. Splash in the wine, then add the seasonings. Boil a minute longer until the flavors mingle and shrimp are cooked through.
Enjoy!

3 comments:

sognatrice said...

Mmmm...we do something similar, only a few cherry tomatoes instead of the pesto.

And I, too, don't get why you'd leave the shells on while frying the shrimp; we've had many a battle in my house over that!

Also, FYI, "scampi" (at least down here) are actually large prawns with claws--they look like little (tiny) lobsters in fact. There's a good photo here. Gamberi are shrimp as we know them.

Scampi seem to have more of a sweet, lobster taste to me, and also a bit different consistency--tasty to be sure, and always more expensive!

sognatrice said...

I should've added, also, that shrimp as know them that are simply larger than your average size (but without the claws) are "gamberoni."

Love those Italian word endings!

Valerie said...

Sognatrice, you're right. I asked my chef friend about scampi versus gamberi and he pointed me to the little lobster-looking critters. Not much meat in those things after all the work you go through to crack them open! I, too, love the endings...it makes words so flexible!