What Is Scampi?
Be honest..... Did you know what scampi was?
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."