Scampi crêpes

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

These make a great old-fashioned starter for a dinner party; if you can’t get large, plump langoustines or scampi in their shells, then you could settle for large raw prawns in the shell as you need to use the shells to make the sauce.

Half a quantity of pancake batter, omitting the sugar and adding a good pinch of salt
20 large scampi (langoustine or Dublin Bay prawns) in the shell
2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
5 black peppercorns
10 fennel seeds
A couple of good knobs of butter
1tsp flour
1tsp tomato purée
A good pinch of saffron
100ml white wine
200ml fish stock
350ml double cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the scampi for 1 minute, then drain in a colander and refresh in cold water. Carefully remove the heads and peel the tails, leaving the meat as intact as possible. Crush the shells a little and place the tails in the fridge until required.

Melt a knob of the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and gently fry the shells with the shallots, garlic, peppercorns and fennel seeds for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the flour, tomato purée and saffron, stir well then gradually add the white wine and fish stock. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently for 20 minutes then add the cream, season and continue to simmer very gently for another 10 minutes. Blend about one-fifth of the shells with some of the liquid in a blender until smooth then return to the pan and simmer for a few more minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl.

Melt the other knob of butter in a wide pan or frying pan, season the scampi and fry on a low heat for a minute, then add the sauce and simmer for another minute. The sauce should be quite thick and of a coating consistency; if not, remove the scampi with a slotted spoon and simmer the sauce for a little longer. Cook the pancakes as above. To serve, lay the crêpes on to warmed plates and spoon the scampi and the sauce into the centre and fold the crêpes over.

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