Joe Patti, owner of La Famiglia in Beverly Hills, wanted to come up with a shellfish dish that would appeal to his sophisticated Iranian clients. "I tried to develop something with ingredients my clients enjoyed and understood," says Patti.
The result was scampi flamed with aqvavit for a light, fruity taste, then served with a cold yogurt-caviar sauce (ingredients familiar to his Iranian clients). "I tried it first with grappa, but the liqueur was too strongly alcoholic. The aqvavit worked better," explains Patti. The elegance of the dish is reflected in the name: principessa. It means "princess" in Italian.
LA FAMIGLIA SCAMPI PRINCIPESSA
16 large size shrimp
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
6 ounces aqvavit or vodka
Rinse, clean and butterfly shrimp, leaving tails intact. Poach shrimp in white wine, tails up, 5 minutes, or until shrimp changes color. Do not overcook. Drain wine, then, away from flame on stove, flambe shrimp with aqvavit. Remove shrimp carefully and place in cold Yogurt Sauce. Makes 4 servings.
Each serving contains about:
292 calories; 309 mg sodium; 120 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 11 grams carbohydrates; 15 grams protein; 0.06 grams fiber; 14% calories from fat.
2 cups plain yogurt or sour cream
1/4 bunch chives, minced
3 green onions, minced
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
3 tablespoons lumpfish or black caviar
Combine yogurt, chives, green onions and white pepper. Fold in caviar. Chill. Makes about 2 cups.