Grilled Scampi with Herb & Garlic Butter

Grilled Scampi

“Lets check out Barbeque Madness at Waterloo” Mysaucepan enthuse on this dreary Saturday afternoon.

“What’s that?” I ask. “BBQ sets going for crazy prices?”

“It’s BBQ stalls hosted by restaurants and it’s happening all over Sydney, it’s part of Crave Sydney’s International Food Festival in October” she explains.

“And I like the sound of the one in Waterloo, it has some of my favourite cafes and restaurants”, she adds.

“How’s that different from all the awesome BBQs that we cook at home?” I wonder.

“These ones showcase the food of many cafes and restaurants and you can sample different dishes at the same time, you may get a nice piece of steak too!” she tries to entice me.

The weather on this first Saturday of October 2012 is a little gloomy with intermittent drizzles and among about a dozen participating restaurants are East Ocean Restaurant with a selection of dim sims and deep fried squid and Dank Street Depot with their cafe fare.

“It’s actually raining now” I say as I look around the crowd of people, kids and die-hards queuing up for a lamb shoulder roll and paella.

“Why don’t we swing by the fish markets and grab some seafood for a BBQ at home instead?” I suggest.

The Sydney Fish Market is a one-stop paradise for seafood lovers and after a wash-out at BBQ Madness, Mysaucepan is craving for some BBQ seafood.

“I’m getting a delicious home-cooked BBQ after all” I chuckle to myself.

“How about some scampi”, she asks.

“Whatever you like, sweet”, I say happily.

Cooked King prawns

Cooked King prawns

There are many different types of cooked prawns and one of my favourite ways is to dip them into some wasabi mixed with light soy sauce, pretty much how you would eat sushi and sashimi.

Unshucked Coffin Bay oysters ($1 off retail price of $14.99/dozen at Sydney Fish Market)

Unshucked Coffin Bay oysters ($1 off retail price of $14.99/dozen at Sydney Fish Market)

Since our dinner at 4 Fourteen where the freshly shucked oysters came without that briny seawater, I have been thinking of shucking my own oysters at home and at last, I get a chance to do so.

Most of the seafood retailers at the Sydney Fish Market will sell unshucked oysters at $1 off their retail price for a dozen.

My first thought is the guy that shucks the oysters – is that what he gets paid, $1 for every dozen oysters that he shucks? That’s only $20 for shucking 240 oysters!

Fresh oyster with a squeeze of lemon juice and Tabasco sauce

Fresh oyster in its natural brine with a squeeze of lemon juice and Tabasco sauce

All freshly shucked oysters are required by New South Wales Food Authority, the State’s food regulatory body, to be rinsed with fresh water. This is a food safety and health procedure in an attempt to remove and minimise the risks of contaminated seawater.

For tonight, I just want to slurp up all that briny, salty, seawater from my oyster shucking efforts at home (See instructions on How to shuck fresh oysters below).

I know these oysters are fresh from the super firm hold on the top lid when shucking them. It is so fresh that I can see each oyster wriggle when I add a few drops of Tabasco sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice. It is no wonder that the majority of fresh oysters in European cities like Paris are shucked to order and come with its natural brine unlike fresh oysters in Australia.

2000 Petaluma riesling

2000 Petaluma riesling

An aged 2000 Petaluma riesling which I have kept for 14 years is golden honey in colour. Rounded and subtle on the nose, it is a limey partner with the fresh oysters.

Fresh New Zealand scampi ($34.99 per kg at Sydney Fish Market)

Fresh New Zealand scampi ($34.99 per kg at Sydney Fish Market)

Scampi is actually the Italian plural for scampo but is used interchangeably English for this prawn-like seafood. It is sometimes called langoustine in restaurants.

We bought nine medium sized scampi which weighed 360gms in total and cost about $13. I think this same dish at a restaurant would easily set you back $40, whatever little cooking it requires.

Fresh scampi drizzled with herb & garlic butter

Fresh scampi drizzled with herb & garlic butter

Mysaucepan suggests cooking these scampi with pasta but I thought the best way to savour their freshness is to simple grill them. All they need is to be halved and drizzled with a herb and garlic butter sauce.

Grilled scampi with herb & garlic butter

Grilled scampi with herb & garlic butter

After only ten minutes under a pre-heated 200 degree Celscius grill, the herb and garlic butter is infused into the scampi and the aromas of fresh garlic, continental parsley, butter and grilled seafood is heavenly.

The scampi is succulent, juicy and the savoury garlic butter sauce is the perfect complement to this delicate seafood. The only other way I might cook these super fresh scampi is to just steam and eat as they are.

Herb & garlic butter sauce Mopping up herb & garlic butter sauce with bread

Toast or sourdough is best to mop up this delicious sauce

The leftover herb and garlic butter sauce is too good to go to waste. We run some toasted sourdough over the sauce and in no time, that sheet of baking paper is wiped clean.

Sign of a hearty meal

Sign of a hearty meal

A simple and delicious meal at home that requires little cooking  although a little elbow grease for opening the oysters but it is all worth the effort.

Try shucking your own oysters at home and I guarantee after the third, the top lid will come off like second nature.

Remnants of a delicious meal

Remnants of a delicious meal


How to shuck fresh oysters

Oyster shucker

Oyster shucker

If you love fresh oysters, it is nothing like shucking your own. Living in a seafood mecca like Sydney, you can buy the oysters unshucked (usually $1 off the per/dozen price) and keep it refrigerated for a few hours prior to shucking.

Invest in a sharp and sturdy oyster shucker (between $5 – $20) and all you need to remember is to be cautious and not injure yourself.

Rinse fresh unshucked oysters under fresh running tap water to rid grit and dirt.

Pry the top lip of the oyster at its heel. Once you get the knife under the lid, run it along the edge to pry off the lid, be cautious to not injure your hand.

Sever the connective muscle under the oyster and for better presentation, you might choose to flip the oyster to show its sack. Be cautious not to spill the brine as this is what you are really after if you go through the trouble to shuck your own oysters at home, apart from guaranteeing its freshness of course.

Pry open shell from the heel of the oyster and sever the connective muscle

Freshly shucked oyster

Freshly shucked oyster in its natural brine

There is countless types of dressing for fresh oysters such as lemon vinaigrette, mirin, pink grapefruit juice but when oysters are so fresh, the best way is to eat them raw with minimal dressing to savour their natural state.

My favourite with fresh oysters is just a squeeze of lemon juice and a few drops of Tabasco sauce.

Grilled scampi with herb and garlic butter

Scampi can also be substituted with other seafood such as king prawns, whole white fish such as Dover sole, John Dory, blue swimmer and mud crabs.

Fresh scampi from New Zealand

Fresh scampi from New Zealand ($34.99 per kg at Sydney Fish Market)

Grilled scampi with herb & garlic butter

Grilled scampi with herb & garlic butter

So dear reader, what is your favourite seafood and how do you like to cook it?

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26 Responses to Grilled Scampi with Herb & Garlic Butter

  1. Baby Sumo says:

    The scampi looks great.. so fresh!

  2. I’m too scared to chuck oysters, feel like I might accidentally jab uni my
    Finger or Something. I’ll just stick to tasting the oysters thanks!

  3. What a you beaut meal and at 1/3 the price of a restaurant. It’s a feast and you know how fresh it was when you started. Looks very good.

  4. The scampi look so pretty :) I’m afraid I don’t eat shellfish but this still looks like a wonderful home cooked dinner :) I do love baked and fried fish – especially flounder! And I also love a good salmon 😀

  5. I think these are probably the most beautiful scampi I’ve ever seen. They are so incredibly fresh looking. Your recipe is so simple yet so delicious! I could smell the aroma of the herbed garlic as you described it. Great tips on shucking the oysters too!

  6. bams Kitchen says:

    Your scampi are so fresh and beautiful from the market. I love the pictures of the scraps at the end-proof of a very delicious meal. Narrowing down my favorite seafood is a tough one. However, I love steamed Cantonese Stone Fish. I also love Italian zuppa with mussels and clams and who does not love a Thai Shrimp bundle with special dipping sauce…. Take Care, BAM

  7. Cheah says:

    A gorgeous meal and a magnificient seafood spread …. my other half will drool at the oysters!

  8. Sissi says:

    I totally agree about the oysters! When they are really great, maybe a small drop of lemon is enough or nothing (I have never understood why people have it with vinegar…. it spoils the whole taste for me). The scampi look gorgeous and I will remember your wasabi tip.

  9. I love seafood so oysters and scampi are two of my favourite foods. I don’t use my oyster shucker enough!

  10. An economical choice indeed :) looks like a lovely spread, I like how you’ve used bread to mop up the juices from the scampi, that’s where all the flavour has gone!

  11. My two favourite seafood! Look at that beautiful oyster – looks so juicy and fresh! And I would love to get my hands on those scampi.

  12. Hotly Spiced says:

    I’ve never shucked an oyster! I didn’t know that about all the rules regarding oysters having to be rinsed. I had a bottle (not to myself!) of Petaluma riesling on Sunday with a wonderful lunch. It’s probably my favourite white wine – don’t think my was as old as yours though! xx

  13. tigerfish says:

    When it comes to fresh shrimps, I either like to steam them or grill them!
    I love seafood so much. I was telling my hb the other day – you can take meat away from my diet but I don’t think I can ever turn vegetarian as I cannot give up seafood. My favorite seafood(s) – clams, shrimps, crabs, lobster!

  14. That scampi looks absolutely delicious! I’m hungry just looking at it!!

  15. Allison Day says:

    That’s so cool… I’ve never seen shrimp scampi cooked like this! What a beautiful presentation, and I bet the shrimp taste even better grilled.

  16. Kimby says:

    Fresh seafood, butter & herbs, bread & wine… simply divine!

  17. What a divine seafood dinner! Can’t even remember when I last time had some quality seafood!

  18. I can’t help but think if you eat like this everyday… Your homecooked meal doesn’t look like one at my home. Great scampi and oyster as well as great wine… I think my husband would enjoy this meal (plus wine). I even think he may not come home once he dines at your home… And me too… :)

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Nami,

      I think your homecooked meals are awesome so eating at your home would be like eating at good Japanese restaurants everyday!

  19. Gorgeous scampi! What a beautifully fresh and summery dish 😀

  20. That scampi looks amazing! It looks so fresh and is making my mouth water~

  21. I’ve had the Petaluma Riesling, it was delicious! Would have gone very well with that beautiful seafood. I’m so jealous!! Can’t believe you’ve kept that bottle for 14 years, the one I had was 2008 or something, no where near as good. 😛

  22. grace says:

    i’ve never been a fan of the way shrimp tastes or looks, but the presentation here is phenomenal! i’m actually tempted to try it, which has never happened when seafood is involved. :)

  23. What a perfect meal. Simple, showcasing some beautiful seafood. I now anticipating a run to the Sydney fish markets tomorrow, craving badly.

  24. Charles says:

    Just one thing to say here: “YUM, shrimp!” (or scampi, or langoustines, or prawn… whichever name they go by, anything with a big hard head and delicious “tail” always gets my vote!).

  25. Row says:

    My goodness, those scampi look beautiful! And those lovely oysters! Simply put, this is a beautiful and perfect meal. :)

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