Monday, July 23, 2007


There is a good deal of confusion over the term "scampi". These do not refer to shrimp, the Italian word for shrimp being "gamberi", with small, cocktail shrimp going by "gamberetti" and jumbo shrimp called "gamberoni".
The real deal is pictured above and is similar to a small, skinny lobster. They are quite good and quite expensive. I have enjoyed scampi (being small and skinny, usually more than one is served per person, hence the plural) many times in Venice, where it is usually prepared alla griglia. The all-time best seafood I have ever had, however, was not in Venice, or even here in New England. It was in the tiny village of Funtana in Croatia, and the dish was scampi alla busara. Unforgettable. The origins and even the name are mysterious: the dish clearly comes from the Adriatic, but some hold that it is not Venetian, but from Friuli, or Croatia, or Dalmatia. This would be difficult to tease out, as Venice lorded it over the entire area (and then some) in its imperial days.
Marcella Hazan and Lidia Bastianich both offer versions of seafood alla busara. I might post my own here at some later time.