In every good restaurant in Dublin you can find scampi or Dublin Bay Prawns in the menu. It is the same shellfish. Scampi look like a prawn but it is not. It is a slim, orange-pink lobster which grows up to 25 cm long, and is the most important commercial crustacean in Europe.
I tried scampi during my first dinner in a restaurant in Dublin. It was my second day in Ireland and we celebrated my arrival.
I ordered the strangest dish in the menu as a starter. It was Dublin bay chowder with scampi. I was very much surprised when in my soup I saw familiar to me ingredients and I asked the waiter which one were scampi. He pointed at pink prawns. At that time I thought that scampi is the Irish name for prawns. I'd probably be in this belief if I hadn't attended the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival. A lady explained to us that scampi are a type of lobster, and she was proud of Dublin cuisine. Scampi are served in hundreds of sophisticated ways but my favourite is Dublin bay chowder with scampi.
Dublin Bay Chowder
For two2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp each minced green onion, celery, fennel
1 tsp tomato puree
200 ml clam juice (or mild fish stock)
100 ml milk
½ cup medium shrimp (peeled, deveined, tail removed)
½ cup bay scallops
1 tsp each fresh chopped parsley, dill
pinch cayenne pepper
salt & white pepper to taste
1 Tbsp heavy cream
In a heavy saucepan melt butter. Add green onion, celery, fennel. Sweat until translucent. Add flour. Cook 4-5 minutes (do not allow to darken.) Add tomato puree.
Add clam juice. Bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer. Add seafood. Cook 1 minute.
Season with white pepper, cayenne and salt.
Add fresh herbs and heavy cream. Simmer 1 more minute.
Serve in warm soup plates with crusty, warm bread.