15 (Tue) February 2011
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Korea-
with the Family, SHI’s family
Scampi is an Italian dish. Shrimp sautéed with garlic and herbs in butter, usually white wine and parmesan cheese. Technically, the term refers to the langoustine, or Nephrops norvegicus, a species of prawn; whereas shrimp generally are called “gambero/gamberi” in Italian. In the United States, the term is sometimes used to refer to any dish that involves the same garlic-herb-butter preparation, even if shrimp are not involved.
So long as it’s just about method, I see no reason why vegetables shouldn’t play a prominent role, as they often do in my own versions (see for example 2.018 Abalone and Zucchini with Penne in Tomato-Parmesan Sauce), even though I’ve never encountered a scampi dish in a restaurant that featured vegetables. I could make an entire meal out of just broccoli in the scampi style, whatever the dish would be called.
My 3-year-old boy has a girlfriend of sorts, a classmate at daycare. They call each other “yeobo” (여보), a term of endearment equating more or less to “dear” that’s used exclusively by married couples. I have no idea where DJ picked it up, because W and I never use it. Anyway, the girl’s father has been at me for awhile to get together for drinks, you know, like between future in-laws, so I just invited them all over for dinner.
During the meal, I was reminded of how isolated Korean kids can be when it comes to food, growing up on an exclusively Korean diet. The isolation is intentional, derived from a cultural belief that anything beyond rice and soup and kimchi is unwholesome at best, decadent at worst. To this day, my mother-in-law disapproves that I feed pasta to DJ, even organic wholewheat pasta in sauce made from fresh tomatoes, which she categorizes as Western junk food. For DJ’s girlfriend, her first Italian experience, she nibbled at the shrimp but couldn’t handle the broccoli, all a bit too garlicky or buttery for her uninitiated taste buds apparently. She also had some trouble with the crab and asparagus risotto, especially the asparagus, all a bit too rich perhaps. Those two dishes had been prepared specifically with the kids in mind, but maybe it was unfair to assume that other toddlers are as gastronomically flexible as DJ.