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What Is Scampi?

Scampi is the term that is typically used for a type of seafood, and it is also used as a culinary term for some types of prawn, especially the ‘true’ Scampi Nephrops Norvegicus, but depending on where you live, “Scampi” can mean many different things…

In India, the term ‘freshwater scampi’ is generally used when referring to the shrimp Macrobrachium rosenbergii, which is also known as the the “Fresh Water Prawn” or “Malaysian Prawn”.

A number of types of lobsters are also classified as scampi, but in the UK, the “legitimate” real scampi as is defined by the Food Standards Agency are Norway lobsters (Nephrops Norvegicus), which are typically found within the Adriatic, parts of the western Mediterranean sea, and the Irish Sea, which is why its name in Ireland and in some parts of the United Kingdom is the the Dublin Bay Prawn.

In Italy, “Scampi” is the plural of Scampo which is the Italian species name for what we call the Dublin Bay Prawn.

In France they use the word langoustine rather than Scampi and in the USA, “Scampi” happens to be something different. – “Scampi” is normally listed on the menu as what in the UK and most of Europe, would call shrimp, especially in Italian-American cooking. The phrase “Scampi”, on it’s own can be the name of a dish of shrimp cooked in garlic butter and dry white wine, served frequently with bread, or over pasta. In the States, the word “scampi” is normally construed a type of preparation and not a specific ingredient, hence the apparently unnecessary “shrimp scampi” or even the seemingly not possible “chicken scampi”.

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Although certain countries and some people are still of the opinion that Scampi is “prawn” or Shrimp based, they are in fact WRONG. The fleshy tail of the Norway lobster is closer in both taste and texture to lobster and crayfish rather than prawn or shrimp.

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