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Scampi Provençale Recipe

A delicious way of cooking scampi, when the best ingredients are used, and care is taken. Many versions sold under this name wouldn't be recognised in Provence. Rarely-found fresh-water crayfish can be substituted.

Ingredients

For 4 people, as a main course:
3 tablespoons (45ml) Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, peeled and finely-chopped
1 big Carrot, peeled and diced
1kg/2¼ lbs shell-on Scampi, cooked and shelled, the tail shells reserved; or 500g/1 lb 2 oz large frozen scampi. If you are using frozen scampi some old prawn shells are a useful substitute
4 tablespoons (60ml) Brandy (Cognac or Armagnac if possible)
150ml/5 fl oz Dry White Wine
2 tablespoons (30ml) Tomato Purée
A bouquet garni consisting of 1 sprig of fresh Thyme, 1 sprig of Fennel (from the top of a bulb), 1 big clove of Garlic - roughly chopped; 3-4 sprigs of Flat-Leaf Parsley, roughly-chopped - all tied in a muslin bag - or a Herbes de Provence Bouquet Garni from www.gourmetherbs.co.uk (http://www.gourmetherbs.co.uk)
Salt and freshly-ground Black Pepper

Method

1. Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan over a medium heat.

2. Add the chopped onion and carrot and cook until it starts to brown.

3. Add the scampi/crayfish shells, or prawn shells if you have them; and stir-fry for a minute or two. If you don't have any shells shells, skip this stage.

4. Add the brandy, and set it alight - flambé, to burn off the sharp taste, until the flames die down.

5. Stir in the wine and tomato purée then add the bouquet garni.

6. Season well with salt and pepper, the lower the heat and simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes.

7. Try to 'fish-out" as many shellfish tails as you can, and the boquet garni - although a few remaining won't matter.

8. Add the scampi/crayfish and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Serve immediately, accompanied by a side salad, and plenty of crusty French bread

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