Monday, December 11

Making Shrimp Scampi With The Taste of Venice

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Scampi are fine shellfish whose taste is extremely delicate. Since scampi have the characteristic of lasting long after being fished, it would be better to buy them when they are still alive, in order to have a sure guarantee of freshness. If, on the other hand, you buy them after they have been frozen, it is important that you check smell, body and eyes.

The smell must be delicate, nice, with no traces of ammonia; their look should be bright, the body stiff and hard. The eyes must be bulging and be of a very deep black. If you buy them really fresh remember that they have to be eaten very soon to fully appreciate their taste. You can keep them only a day in the fridge or you can freeze them at –18° C and keep them for as long as three months.

To clean them, you just need to rinse shrimp thoroughly under running water. The main methods of cooking scampi: either grilled or boiled, sauteed, The right portion should be about 250 grams per person. What follows is a typical and very famous Venetian recipe:

Scampi alla Busara

(from The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition)

Ingredients (for 4 people):

20 big scampi

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

4 spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil

half glass of white dry wine

2 tomatoes

salt and black pepper

Put some water to boil. When it boils throw the tomatoes into it and blanche for a couple of minutes, so that you can easily peel them. Cut them into small cubes.

Peel and chop the onion and garlic very finely. Put them with the oil in a frying pan and let them become slightly ‘golden’.

In the meantime wash scampi under running water, dry them afterwards with kitchen paper, put them into the pan, add a little bit of salt and pepper, cover with a lid and let cook for three minutes on low heat. Then take the scampi out of the pan and leave them aside. Add the wine to the cooking liquid left in the pan and wait till evaporates almost completely. Then add the tomato cubes, a little salt and cook the sauce for about 20 minutes at a very low heat. If the sauce becomes too dry, you should add some spoonfuls of warm water to keep it soft. Add the scampi, cover with lid and let cook for another seven minutes.

Before serving, add abundant black pepper and, if you like it (this is a kind of variation) also some freshly chopped parsley.

Fish is always served accompanied by white wines. My suggestion is to choose either PINOT BIANCO or TOCAI ITALICO, which are two typical white wines of the region Veneto, whose capital city is Venice.



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