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What Is Scampi?

Updated on October 25, 2014
Nephrops Norvegicus
Nephrops Norvegicus | Source

Be honest..... Did you know what scampi was?

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While looking at Google's annual zeitgeist I was surprised to see that the second most asked question was........What is scampi?

Are these people mad, how can you not know what scampi is?? I love scampi, I eat it in breadcrumbs along with chips and mushy peas, It is a type of prawn right?? Wrong!!

On discovering that scampi was in fact was not a type of prawn, I decided to look in to a little more, this is what I discovered..

If you ask most people what scampi is, then they will probably say monkfish tails or a type of prawn, but scampi is actually the whole-tail of a 'Nephrops Norvegicus' which is an orange pink lobster that can grow up to ten inches long (25 Cm's).

It can be found in many waters including the north sea and some parts of the Mediterranean. The Nephrops Norvegicus have meat in the tail section (the scampi) but little inside the claws and head.

Scampi is also known as 'Dublin Bay Prawns' although it is not actually a prawn, which is probably where some of the confusion comes from. Other names for it include 'Norway lobster' and 'True scampi'.

Scampi comes from the Italian name 'Scampo'. In France they are called 'Langoustine'. The Spanish call them 'Cigala'.

In America scampi is what they call Shrimp served in garlic butter and dry white wine, while in the UK scampi is the whole-tail of the Nephrops Norvegicus cooked in breadcrumbs.

Scampi is the size of a large crayfish and tastes quite like crayfish as well as lobster. When scampi is very fresh they have a slightly sweet flavour, however they lose their sweet taste when frozen.

Scampi is extremely delicate and should be poached for a few seconds before eating, you can eat them plain or along with melted butter.

In the UK breaded scampi is a popular pub meal, served with chips and peas and tartar sauce. You can buy cheap versions of breaded scampi which is actually made up from the left over fish bits. This is referred to as 'reformed scampi'.

60,000 tonnes of scampi are caught every year, and 30,000 of that comes from the UK and Ireland. Scampi was first created in the 1940s by a UK company called Young's Seafood Ltd.

So next time someone asks me what is scampi I shall say " Are you mad, how can you not know what scampi is? I love scampi, I eat it with chips and mushy peas, it is a type of lobster tail."

How Do You Cook Scampi?


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    • zoey24 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from South England

      Thank you for stopping by AliciaC.

      I never used to know what it was, even when I was eating it :-)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Although I've heard of scampi, I've never known what is was until now. Thanks for the information, Zoey!

    • zoey24 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from South England

      Thank you for stopping by anglnwu :-)

    • anglnwu profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for clarifying that fact. I've always thought it was a kind of shrimp but I guess I was wrong. I love scampi, though.

    • zoey24 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from South England

      Thank you Dancilla. It is really nice with tartar sauce ;-)

    • Dancilla profile image


      7 years ago from El Paso

      I honestly did not know what scampi was. Interesting, who knows I may taste it one of these days. Voted up!

    • zoey24 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from South England

      Thank you TToombs, pleased you enjoyed it, and hope you enjoy your scampi ;-)

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      7 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      I had no idea! And this hub has made me want to run out and have some. Thank you for a very informative hub, zoey! Voting up!

    • zoey24 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from South England

      Thank you for stopping by Marketing Merit, i would have just continued thinking it was a type of prawn lol :)

    • Marketing Merit profile image

      C L Grant 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      You learn something new everyday I guess Zoey!!

      I knew there was a difference between reformed scampi and whole scampi tails but had never really thought about where it came from exactly.

      A refreshing and enlightening hub! ;)


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