Now, there’s an odd couple. I’d never heard of such a combination.
I saw this recipe presented in an Italian TV programme featuring “Benedetta”, that’s the lady’s name, from somewhere in the countryside in the Marche. Indeed, from somewhere in the countryside in the Marche very very close to where my mother-in-law hails from. A small beautiful hilltop town called Monterubbiano. We spent many Summer holidays there with our children.
Now, you have to understand that in Italy it is quite common to make fun of people’s regional accents and dialects. Our son has been living in Milan for the last three years and by the way doesn’t have a strong Roman accent, not at all. Even so, his colleagues will ask him to utter a few choice Roman phrases because it tickles them pink. My husband and I are likewise tickled pink by this Benedetta’s accent from the southern part of the Marche (the north part speak more like they do in Emilia Romagna). All this tickled-pink business is usually just gentle joshing but there are times when people can get a little snobby or downright mean when it comes to accents and that is where I part company. I am very proud of the fact, for instance, that I can speak some Frascatan dialect, acquired via my grandmother Giuseppina, even though it does sound quite gritty and awful compared with ‘proper’ Italian. So hats off to Benedetta from not shying away from her “Marche sporche” accent. She finishes every recipe off by tasting what she’s prepared, giving it the thumb’s up and saying “fatto in casa per voi” (which translates something like “I made it at home for you”) in her undisguisable sing-song lilt.
Well, she herself got this recipe from a fish and seafood restaurant run by a friend of hers (can’t remember the name), also from the Marche. It looked so easy to make, I simply had to give it a shot.
The first time I made it, it was lovely. The second time, not so good on account of the fact that the melon wasn’t much cop. Had very little taste. So I think that a good melon is the prime ingredient here. For the rest … it’s easy peasy. Take a look.
INGREDIENTS: Lemon zest, lemon juice, extravirgin olive oil, salt, pre-cooked scampi (mine were frozen), slices of celery
I haven’t bothered giving any written instructions because it’s all common sense – the pictures say it all, correct?
It can be prepared in advance and left in the fridge for a few hours, covered with clingfilm.
A word about the frozen shrimps. I chose the best quality I could find and rinsed them in cold water countless times. Neary all frozen fish is covered with some watered down ammonia or other preservative to stop it from spoiling.
Fresh shrimps would have been best, of course.