That Friday Feeling is in the air – and with it a craving for a big plate of fish and chips. But if you’re more of a scampi sort, can you really be sure about what it’s made of?
Up and down the country tonight battered hunks of cod will be spilling off the edge of plates in pubs, vinegar will be stinging the air outside fish and chip shops, and ovens will be steaming up with breaded fillets.
Some of you may even be opting for scampi – after all, it’s a delicious alternative to fish. I personally love it, but I never thought about how breaded scampi is made until I received a letter from a reader asking what exactly a wholetail scampi is.
First off, I learnt you can make your dinner sound a lot more exotic by referring to it as Norway lobster, Dublin Bay Prawn, or langoustine. They’re all the same species: Nephrops norvegicus.
What is wholetail scampi?
According to a code of practice that manufacturers have to stick to, wholetail scampi, or whole scampi, can actually be made of three wholetail pieces.
The three pieces must be placed beside or on top of each other, before being coated in breadcrumbs.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the scampi is of lower quality – it’s simply prepared this way due to the difficulty in keeping a wholetail intact, as automatic peeling can break it up into smaller pieces.
Peering closely at the back of a frozen pack of wholetail scampi might reveal that it’s ‘made from more than one scampi’ or ‘wholetail scampi ingredients’.
Scampi ingredients – what to buy?
If you want scampi that is made from one sole piece of wholetail, look for ‘single wholetail scampi’, which has been hand-peeled to prevent breakage. Bear in mind that this will probably be more expensive.
‘Formed scampi’ is also pretty common in the freezer aisle, and it consists of pieces of scampi coated together, and can also be referred to as ‘scampi pieces’.
You shouldn’t find minced scampi in packs of coated scampi unless explicitly labelled as such, as this goes against the code of practice.
Are you a scampi fan, and do you buy a specific type? Would you be willing to shell out more for single wholetail scampi and will you be paying closer attention to your scampi ingredients from now on?