Originally Posted by brasato
Hi from Italy.
I have a curiosity.
In italian shrimp mean...shrimp and scampi mean langoustines, but I see many american recipes called "shrimp scampi" where only shrimps are used. So I'm curious to understand what is intended in usa with the word scampi, considering that scampi is an italian word (the plural of scampo to be precise) to indentify langoustines, but it seems that in usa identifies something else.
Hello, my family came to the US from Torino. When you consider that we call most Italian cites by a different name here in the US, it is not surprising that someone from Italy would be confused. We call Torino, Turin, and Firenze, Florence. It all goes back to Italian immigrants, like my great-grandparents, Americanizing in order to fit in, and become Americans. Here in the US, my own last name is pronounced wrong, but I'm used to it.
Shrimp Scampi is an example of that. It is like fajitas from Mexico. Fajita is skirt steak, yet in the US, we eat chicken fajitas... or chicken steak. Technically, it makes no sense, but the name "chicken fajitas" has become normal. In the same way, Shrimp Scampi has become normal.
Italian immigrants in the early 1900s, like my great-grandparents, adapted recipes from Italy to use ingredients that were abundant here in America. They had to do that, since it was not practical to import ingredients from Italy.
Here, shrimp scampi is actually shrimp, most of it from the Gulf of Mexico, that is cooked in butter and garlic. Why? Because Gulf shrimp are abundant here.
Italian food here is different than Italian food in Italy. That came from necessity. Italian immigrants 100 years ago cooked with what was abundant here.