Image by Farhad Ibrahimzade


Scampi. For many, this word conjures up images of succulent chunks of prawns cooked in a buttery, garlicky sauce, with a slight hint of lemon. But what exactly is scampi?


Scampi is a Mediterranean seafood dish, rather than a species of seafood itself. As it is not a specific type of crustacean, some dispute whether true 'scampi' exists at all. The most popular form of scampi is made with Norway Lobster, also known as Dublin Bay Prawns. This is then typically served as a garlic and butter sauce, but other sauces like white wine, mayonnaise and lemon are also popular accompaniments.

However, any type of crustacean can be used for a scampi dish, including langoustines and king prawns. The classic combination of garlic and butter gives the scampi its unique flavor, with the addition of lemon adding a certain zestiness.

This delicious, simple dish has been around for centuries, but it was only in the 1960's that it gained widespread popularity in Britain. It was originally served in a variety of pubs and restaurants across the country, as part of the wave of Italian-style food that was becoming incredibly popular among the British public. Since then, the dish has come to be associated with British pub grub, alongside the likes of fish and chips and bangers and mash.

The popularity of scampi cannot be denied - it is one of the most requested items on restaurant menus up and down the country. Much of its success is due to its ease of preparation, both at home and in restaurants. It is also extraordinarily versatile, and can be served in a variety of ways. One classic presentation is on a bed of mashed potatoes or chips, accompanied by peas. Alternatively, it can be served in an array of creative pasta dishes.

So, if you’re looking for a delicious yet straightforward dish to add to your repertoire, scampi could be the answer. Just be sure to select only the freshest ingredients and remember to serve with a good squeeze of lemon juice for that extra zing.

The origin of Scampi

Ah, scampi. Ever the symbol of Italian sophistication and culinary finesse. A delicacy that, no matter the context, never fails to surprise and delight the palate. But do you know its true origin?

It's believed that the very first scampi dish was created in Genoa, Italy in the late 19th century. The original recipe was a simple yet delicious combination of boiled crayfish and garlic served with plenty of olive oil. Its popularity quickly spread throughout the country, before eventually making its way to other parts of the world.

Nowadays, scampi is most often thought of as a succulent and flavorful butter-based dish comprising of jumbo shrimp in a garlic, parsley, and white wine sauce. But this interpretation of the dish is rooted in modern-day Britain, where it was adapted to appeal to British palates and incorporate ingredients more accessible to the average home cook.

The true essence of scampi lies in its versatility. It can be served in a variety of ways—from a light, refreshing salad, to a rich and creamy pasta topped off with a drizzle of olive oil. No matter how it's prepared, however, one thing remains certain: this classic Italian dish will always deliver delectable flavor with a special flair.

The next time you find yourself indulging in scampi, take a moment to appreciate its rich history and unique evolution; for you are truly savoring something centuries in the making.

FAQs about Scampi

Is scampi shrimp or lobster?

Scampi is generally a preparation of shrimp.

What is scampi made out of?

Scampi is a type of dish that originates from Italy. It typically consists of prawns or shrimp cooked in butter, garlic, white wine, and lemon juice. Depending on the recipe, scampi may also include other ingredients such as parsley, shallots, capers, and red pepper flakes.

What is the difference between shrimp and scampi?

Shrimp are small, seafood crustaceans that can be cooked in a variety of ways. Scampi is actually a dish that typically involves shrimp that is coated in butter and garlic and then grilled or sautéed.

Why do they call it scampi?

Scampi is a dish that originated in Italy and is typically made with medium-sized, raw shrimp, garlic, white wine, lemon, and butter. The word "scampi" is an Italian plural form of a Venetian dialect word (also spelled "scampo"), meaning "prawn" or "shrimp".

Types of Scampi

When it comes to the culinary world, few dishes command the level of respect and admiration as the beloved scampi. Incredibly versatile, scampi can be enjoyed in a variety of forms, each of them offering a unique flavor profile and texture. From crispy, fried versions to succulent baked specimens, there's something for everyone when it comes to this delectable seafood dish.

One of the most popular types of scampi is the classic fried scampi. This version is made from fresh shrimp that is then coated in a light batter, deep-fried and served hot with tartar sauce or cocktail sauce. The combination of the crunchy exterior and juicy interior makes this a popular choice for seafood lovers of all ages.

Another favorite is the traditional baked scampi. In this preparation, the shrimp are dressed in a garlicky butter sauce and then slowly roasted in the oven until they become tender and full of flavor. Baked scampi is often served with garlic bread or a garnish of fresh parsley and lemon wedges. The fragrant aroma alone is enough to make this dish a hit with seafood aficionados.

For those looking to mix things up, there's also the scrumptious sautéed scampi. In this preparation, the shrimp are quickly cooked in a pan with garlic and shallots, then finished off with a splash of white wine and a hint of butter. The result is a succulent dish teeming with delicate flavors and aromas.

Finally, the grilled scampi is another great option. Shrimp are marinated in seasonings, then cooked over high heat on an outdoor grill or an indoor griddle. Grilled scampi is often served with a side of rice, vegetables or a tossed salad for an impressive presentation.

No matter how you choose to prepare it, scampi is a surefire crowd pleaser. Whether you opt for the classic fried version, go for the comforting baked scampi or sizzle up some scrumptious sautéed scampi, your taste buds will thank you for it.