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Nephrops norvegicus, the langoustine
Scampi served
Scampi in picante tomato sauce

Scampi is a seafood dish that includes various preparations of certain crustaceans, especially langoustine (the Italian name of which gives the dish gets its name), as well as shrimp or prawns. Scampi preparation styles vary regionally.


Scampi is the plural of scampo, the Italian name for the langoustine, also called the Norwegian lobster. The Italian word may be derived from the Greek καμπή kampē ("bending" or "winding").[1]

In English, the term may, depending on region and context, refer to either langoustine as a species, or to the dish traditionally made with them. In the United States, where langoustines are uncommon, the dish is made with shrimp, and usually called "shrimp scampi", treating the terms as a style of preparation. Food labelling laws in the UK require products labelled "scampi" to include langoustine,[2][3] as Monkfish tail was formerly sometimes used and sold as scampi in the United Kingdom,[4] contravening the Fish Labelling (Amendment) England Regulation 2005 and Schedule 1 of the Food Labelling Regulations 1996.

Preparation methods[edit]

American scampi in garlic butter

According to the French encyclopaedia Larousse Gastronomique, langoustine are delicate and need to be poached only for a few seconds in court-bouillon. When very fresh, they have a slightly sweet flavour that is lost when frozen and can be eaten plain.

In Britain, the shelled tail meat is generally referred to as "scampi tails" or "wholetail scampi", although cheaper "re-formed scampi" can contain other parts together with other fish. It is served fried in batter or breadcrumbs and usually with chips and tartar sauce. It is widely available in supermarkets and restaurants and considered pub or snack food, although factors reducing Scottish fishing catches (such as bad weather) can affect its availability.

In the United States, "shrimp scampi" is the menu name for shrimp in Italian-American cuisine (the actual word for "shrimp" in Italian is gambero or gamberetto, plural gamberi or gamberetti[5]). "Scampi" by itself is a dish of Nephrops norvegicus served in garlic butter, dry white wine and Parmesan cheese, either with bread or over pasta or rice, or sometimes just the shrimp alone. The term "shrimp scampi" is construed as a style of preparation, with variants such as "chicken scampi", "lobster scampi", and "scallop scampi".

As an alternative seafood[edit]

Owing to the decline of fish stocks, British chefs including Heston Blumenthal and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall launched a "Fish Fight" campaign in 2010, attempting to raise awareness of alternative seafoods.[6] They championed scampi and other lesser-known seafood dishes as a more sustainable source of protein.

National Shrimp Scampi Day[edit]

In the United States, National Shrimp Scampi Day occurs annually on April 29.[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Online Etymological Dictionary s.v. scampi
  2. ^ "UK fish labelling regulations" (PDF).
  3. ^ "The Food Labelling Regulations 1996". Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Monkfish". Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  5. ^ Reynolds, Barbara. The Concise Cambridge Italian Dictionary, Cambridge University Press, 1975
  6. ^ "Fish Fight Story". Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  7. ^ "What's Cooking: Shrimp Scampi Day". 26 April 2013. Archived from the original on 29 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  8. ^ "National Shrimp Scampi Day". Retrieved 29 April 2015.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Scampi at Wikimedia Commons