Scampi (also known as langoustines) are one of my favorite types of seafood. Unlike jumbo shrimp (which are only available frozen in the Netherlands), they are available freshly caught, which means that if they are very fresh you can eat them as sashimi. (They are fresh enough if they have been stored on ice and smell like the ocean.) Both taste and texture of raw scampi are delicious. As an added bonus they are very photogenic. I thought they would combine well with green apple, and so they do. And thus this simple to make but great tasting and great looking appetizer was born.
For 2 servings as an appetizer
6-8 medium scampi
1 green apple (Granny Smith)
very good extra virgin olive oil
Start by peeling the scampi. Reserve the heads and shells to make stock for another dish and to decorate the final dish. Rinse briefly under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Cut the scampi meat into pea-size pieces. Make sure to remove the vein. Add a bit of lime juice, a bit of salt and a bit of extra virgin olive oil and mix. Taste and add a bit more if you like. You want the delicate flavor of the raw scampi to stand out, so don’t overwhelm it with too much salt, oil or lime!
Wash and dry the green apple. Remove the core. Cut 4 nice round slices from the middle of about 3 mm (1/8 inch) thick. Rub the slices lightly with lime juice to prevent them from turning brown.
Start assembling the dish by putting a slice of green apple in the middle of each plate.
Divide the scampi tartare over the apple slices and arrange it nicely.
Finish with a final slice of apple.
Decorate the plate with the scampi heads and claws.
White wine is obviously the way to go for this. This elegant dish requires an elegant wine. Grüner veltliner (from Austria) or Albariño (from Spain) are likely candidates. The veltliner because it usually has a bit of apple in the nose, the albariño because it smells like the ocean. It comes from the Spanish region of Galicia that receives a lot of wind from the Atlantic.