Scampi Buzara (Shrimp in Red Tomato Wine Sauce) – you need just 15 minutes of time to prepare this easy and super tasty Croatian dish. The best part is when you dunk a piece of fresh bread into the sauce. Finger licking good!
As you probably already know, scampi are small shrimps similar to lobster. Besides grilled shrimps, Buzara is probably most popular type of scampi dish, probably originating in Italy.
In Croatia, there are two main types of Scampi Buzara: white and red. White Buzara is made with white wine, butter, garlic and parsley, while Red Buzara contains some tomato paste. The same recipe is used to cook mussels or clams as well.
Croatian coastal region of Dalmatia since ancient times is full of vineyards where mostly red grapes are grown. That is why red wine is served with almost every dish, including fish and seafood. That is why I always add a little bit of red wine in my Buzara – both for color and for tradition sake (Note: images show Buzara with white wine only).
The best way to cook Scampi Buzara is to use fresh shrimp, full of sea water. I know it is not always possible, so you can use frozen kind as well. Scampi are cooked whole, together with shell, because it gives nice sweet flavor to the sauce. When cleaning scampi, remove their orange “mustache” (sorry, I don’t know what do you call that in English). If you cannot find large scampi, you can replace them with small ones. You can even use prawns, if that is all you can get. This sauce works for every kind of saltwater shrimps.
Traditionally, Scampi Buzara are served with polenta or pasta, but my most favorite way is to serve them with nice fresh bread to dunk it into the sauce which is the best part of the dish anyway. Eating Scampi Buzara is with your fingers is messy, but totally gratifying experience.
- 1 kg large scampi washed, 2 lb, 8-10 in kg
- 100-200 ml olive oil 4-8 fl oz
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 100 ml white wine 4 fl oz
- 1-2 Tbsp red wine optional
- 1 Tbsp cognac or brandy
- 1 Tbsp parsley chopped
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1-2 Tbs dry breadcrumbs
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Briefly sauté scampi, then add garlic and tomato puree. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper. Add wine and cognac. Boil slowly for about 10 minutes.
Add parsley. If sauce is too thin, thicken it with breadcrumbs.