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British Isles | Breaded Scampi Bites

Posted on December 8, 2012

I have always loved fried shrimp. When I was little, my parents had to take the tails away from me so that I wouldn't eat them too. I loved to go to The Chinese Pagoda restaurant in China Alley in Hanford, California. I would order a big plate of crispy fried shrimp and eat away. While these shrimp aren't exactly the same, they did remind me of them. They were awesome. We made about a pound and ate them while answering the door for trick-or-treaters this past Halloween. I used a Krups Deep Fryer, it was fun to put the basket up and down just like you would in a restaurant. You don't have to have a deep fryer you can use a heavy pot on the stove, just make sure you don't overfill and watch the temperature.

I wrote the recipe up as printed in Jamie's Great Britain, but I used less shrimp since I was only feeding two. The tartare sauce was really good, but next time I would cut the recipe in half, it made way too much. I served this dish with my new favorite beer - London Pride. Yum.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

breaded scampi bites

Ingredients

a few good handfuls of plain flour (all-purpose flour)

200 grams white bread, whizzed to fine crumbs

3 large free-range eggs

sea salt

ground pepper

cayenne pepper

1 lemon

800 grams fresh or frozen scampi or prawns

vegetable oil (2-3 litres)

1 new potato, for testing

tartare sauce (see below)

lemon wedges, for serving

iceberg cups, for serving (optional)

cress, for serving (optional)

Method

SCAMPI

Put the flour into one baking tray and the breadcrumbs into another. Beat the eggs in a bowl with a good pinch of salt, pepper, cayenne and a few good gratings of lemon zest. Put whatever seafood you're using for the scampi into the flour, toss until completely coated, and shake off any excess. Next coat the scampi well in flavoured egg mix and drop them into the tray of breadcrumbs. Coat well, and shake off the excess. It's quite nice to have someone do the flouring with one hand, the egg part with the other, and you do the breadcrumb part; it's cleaner and quicker than trying to do it all yourself. Put the scampi on a plate, cover, and place in the fridge until needed. In the meantime, make up a batch of tartare sauce.

When you're ready to cook, half-fill your largest sturdy pan with vegetable oil so it's about 8cm deep and put it on a high heat. Make sure you don't have any kids running around the kitchen, as hot oil can burn badly. Drop a small piece of potato into the oil to act as your temperature gauge. When it's golden and floats, the oil should be around 180 degrees C, ideally, check this with a thermometer. Use a slotted spoon to lower half the breaded scampi at a time into the hot oil. (This took me several batches, not half at a time.) Cook for around 2 to 3 minutes, until golden and beautiful, then carefully remove to a piece of kitchen paper and season with salt. Simply serve with some tartare sauce, a wedge of lemon for squeezing over and a pinch of cayenne over the top. Sometimes I also like to serve mine with iceberg cups and cress, which in the old days would have been there for a naff garnish, but actually hot crunchy scampi, refreshing cold iceberg lettuce and mustardy cress is delish. All you need to round off the experience is some football, a pint of beer and some 'man talk'. (Girl talk works too!)

TARTARE SAUCE

Finely chop 3 cornichons, 3 heaped teaspoons of drained capers, 2 spring onions, 2 anchovy fillets and the leaves from a small bunch of fresh parsley. Add all your chopped ingredients to 500ml of mayonnaise then grate in the zest of half a lemon and squeeze in the juice. Stir then taste, season and adjust if need be.

 

(Ref. "Breaded Scampi Bites" recipe, Jamie's Great Britain cookbook.)