Škampi na Buzaru is a traditional dish from the peninsula of Istria in Croatia and another discovery from our recent vacation. It is prepared in nearby Italy as well, and there it is called Scampi alla Bùsara. Like with many traditional dishes, there are many variations on the recipe. The constant factor is that scampi are cooked in a sauce with white wine and bread crumbs, with tomatoes (rosso) or without tomatoes (bianco). It is quite easy to make and absolutely delicious. It is fingerlickingly delicious in fact, which is a good thing as you need to eat them with your hands and you will be licking your fingers!
If there is any sauce left, it is delicious with pasta. In this case, fresh tagliatelle.
For 2 servings
1 kg (2.2 lbs) fresh scampi
1 can (400 grams/14 oz) peeled tomatoes, pureed in the food processor
30 grams (1 oz) crumbs from day old bread
80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine
1 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
1 red chilli pepper (fresh or dried)
1 garlic clove
extra virgin olive oil
Rinse the scampi with cold water.
With a big chef’s knife, score the back of each scampo. This serves four purposes:
- it allows the juices from the head to leak into the sauce
- it makes it easier to peel the scampi later on
- it allows you to remove the intestine
- the scampi will cook more evenly
Bash the claws with the blunt side of the knife, to release the flavors from there as well.
Remove the intestine (or leave it in, for a more rustic version — it is safe to eat).
Heat a couple of tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan and add a whole clove of garlic (peeled) and a chilli pepper. Stir them for a minute over medium high heat.
By including them in the dish this way (they will be discarded before serving), there will be just a hint of chilli and garlic in the dish, which is just right for the delicate flavor of the scampi.
Add the scampi in batches and stir them over high heat for a couple of minutes until they have colored somewhat on all sides, then lift them out of the pan with a strainer…
…and set them aside.
After this operation, the olive oil in the pan will be flavored with scampi flavor as well as garlic and chilli. Reduce the heat to medium.
To the same pan, add 30 grams (1 oz) crumbs from day old bread.
Add a bit more olive oil if needed, and stir them for a minute or so.
Add 80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine.
Stir until the wine has been absorbed.
Add a can of peeled tomatoes, pureed in the food processor.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the sauce, uncovered, for about 5 minutes to allow it to thicken somewhat. Season with salt.
Add the reserved scampi to the sauce…
…cover, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
Add a tablespoon of minced parsley…
…and stir to incorporate. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, and remove the garlic and chilli.
Serve at once. Give each person at the table a bowl with some warm water with a slice of lemon so they can clean their fingers afterwards.
In Istria this is served with the local white made from Malvasia grapes (locally called Malvazija). Personally I prefer a Malvasia that has been aged in wood, as the roundness is a better pairing for the flavors of this dish. Regular Malvasia is a bit too fresh.
This apricot vlaai is a delicious tart from the South of the Netherlands, made with a yeasted dough.