My friend, Sergia, once made me a wonderful batch of these to carry home on the train with me & they were absolutely delicious.
The scampi must be lovely & fresh.
- 18-20 scampi (langoustines, red-claw or large prawns)
- 125 ml(4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) olive oil
- 400 g (14 oz) white onions, halved & thinly sliced
- a few whole peppercorns, gently squashed
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons white wine
- 125 ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) white wine vinegar
- flour, for coating
- light olive oil, for frying
- Peel the scampi. Remove the tail meat by cutting down the centre of the underside of the tail with small sharp scissors & using your fingers to pull out the meat. Devein, wash, pat dry & leave in the fridge.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan with a lid & cook the onions for a few minutes before adding the peppercorns, bay leaves & some salt. Cover, lower the heat & simmer for 20-25 minutes until well softened but not browned. Check from time to time that not all the liquid has been absorbed. Add the wine, let it bubble up a bit, then add the vinegar & simmer, uncovered now, for another 5-10 minutes until cooked out a bit, but still saucy.
- Put some flour on a plate & coat the scampi well.
- Pour enough oil into a large non-stick frying pan to cover the bottom abundantly. When the oil is hot add the scampi, turning them only when they are crisp on the bottom. If the flour is falling off & sticking to the bottom, you may need to reduce the heat a touch. When both sides are golden & quite crisp, remove to a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil. Sprinkle with fine salt.
- Put half the onion in a small bowl, top with the scampi & cover with the remaining onion. Scatter with some pepper, a little more salt & a little olive oil if you think it needs it.
- Cover & either leave at room temperature if you will be eating them in the next few hours, or put in the fridge where they will keep for a few days, soaking up the flavours more & more.