I was on vacation in Italy with my friend Olga this past summer. Our main destination was Tuscany, but Venice remains one of my favorite cities and I figured that it was worth a visit if I was traveling all the way to Italy.
Venice is unlike any other city in the world. It’s intricately connected via canals and bridges. Despite our best efforts, and being prepared with maps and directions, we would get lost several times every day. We were armed with lists of restaurants to visit, but we would feel defeated just by trying to locate these places on a map. Google maps was not much help either. It often placed us on the wrong street, going the wrong direction, or had us walking around in circles. Eventually, we learned to go in an overall direction, and to just enjoy our stroll through the city while we hoped to eventually make it to our desired destination.
Under these precise circumstances, we ended up at the Rialto fish market in front of a vendor with boxes of fresh scampi. Scampi is on my top 10 list of favorite foods, probably because they are almost impossible to find in the United States. I stood in front of the vendor and stared in complete awe and we soon started a conversation in my limited Italian vocabulary. Before I knew it, I was being offered fresh raw scampi to try. Moments like these are the reason why I like to travel.
We left the fish market ready to grab lunch. We walked into a little plaza with several restaurants and sat down at the one with the best looking food. The taste of fresh scampi was still in my mouth, I was ready for more. Luckily, there was grilled scampi on the menu. Sometimes, your favorite travel moment will happen when you take a wrong turn and get lost.
And if you ever find some fresh scampi (also known as cigalas, langoustines,
or Scottish prawns), just cook them in simmering water for 5-7 minutes depending on their size. You can them shock them in ice water. When ready to serve, cut them in half lengthwise and throw on a very hot grill to get grill marks. If they are very fresh, you don’t even need to season them with salt. They are perfect as is.