The scampo (or scampi), one of Prosecco’s most classic and delicious pairings.
If ever there were proof the maxim that the simplest things in life are the best, it would be the pairing of Prosecco with the langoustine, otherwise known as scampi in English and scampo in Italian.
Its Latin name is Nephrops norvegicus, a nod to its Nordic origins (norvegicus means Norwegian in Latin).
It is native to the Adriatic sea and is one of the most popular dishes of Venetians and mainland Italians of the northeast.
It can be prepared in a wide variety of ways.
It’s often used in risotto: Chefs and home cooks alike make a fumet using the whole langoustine or even just its carapace. That stock is then used to cook the rice and a boiled langoustine is place on top not just for show but for the diner to suck out of its shell. The tail is considered a delicacy.
Similarly, it can be used to impart flavor to a light tomato sauce. In this case, the stock is added to gently sautéed tomatoes together with white wine. Then pieces of meat from the langoustines are added to the sauce to gently cook through before tossing the sauce and meat with long noodles (preferably linguine or spaghetti).
In Friuli, one of the preferred ways of serving scampi or langoustines is by simply removing their carapace and distributing the whole langoustines on a plate to be eaten as crudo.
In this case, they have to be extremely fresh. And although some will dress them with freshly squeezed lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil, no salt should ever be added when they are prepared this way. They should already be sufficiently salted by the sea water. If they are not, they’ve been sitting out too long.
But our favorite way to eat and pair with Prosecco is to butterfly them and grill them whole (heads and all) over an open fire, just like the ones in the image above.
It’s actually really easy to do (and hard to screw up, really). The tenderness of the meat is so delicate when prepared this way and the gentle bitterness of the Glera in the Prosecco works beautifully against their sweet flavor.