the appetizer:

Small Bites, Big Nights by celebrity chef Govind Armstrong will have you entertaining in no time with recipes like Breakfast in Bed, New Zealand Scampi, and Kona Coffee Kicker.



New Zealand Scampi
with Heirloom Tomato and Summer Truffle Vinaigrette

Serves: 8
Difficulty: Easy

New Zealand Scampi
New Zealand Scampi


On a warm summer evening prior to opening Table 8, chef Neal Fraser and I participated in a Market New Zealand food and wine pairing event at his Grace restaurant in Los Angeles to celebrate our appointment as culinary ambassadors to New Zealand. The heirloom tomatoes were just hitting the farmer's market... as were summer truffles aplenty. Looking to highlight, not bury, the natural succulence of the scampi fresh from New Zealand, I chose a light preparation that uses few ingredients: a small batch of farm-fresh tomatoes, a scattering of peppery wild arugula, the best extra-virgin olive oil money can buy, and just a light earthy hint of mild truffle in a shalloty vinaigrette.

  • 2 tablespoons finely diced summer truffle
  • 1 tablespoon white truffle oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallot
  • 3 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 different varieties heirloom tomatoes, medium-size, sliced paper-thin
  • 1 pint mixed cherry heirloom, blanched and peeled
  • 16 New Zealand scampi, split lengthwise, cleaned, deveined,
  •      and brushed with extra-virgin olive oil
  • Arugula, preferably micro or wild, for garnish

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill.

In a small bowl, place the diced truffle and pour the truffle oil over it. Stir, allowing the oil to be absorbed by the truffle. Add the shallot, thyme, parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir in the vinegar and lemon juice and, in a steady stream, slowly whisk in the 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Arrange the sliced tomatoes, alternating in color, on 8 small plates. Garnish each with a few of the peeled cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and a few turns of the pepper mill.

Season the scampi with salt and pepper, and grill for 1 minute on each side. Place on top of the tomatoes, drizzle with the summer truffle vinaigrette, and garnish with the micro arugula or, even better, wild arugula when available.


ALTERN8: Substitute large shrimp for scampi one for one.

If heirlooms are not in season, substitute beefsteak or Roma tomatoes.

If summer truffle is too costly or out of season, increase the white truffle oil by 1/2 teaspoon.

  • from:
  • Small Bites, Big Nights
    Seductive Little Plates for Intimate Occasions and Lavish Parties
  • by Govind Armstrong
  • Clarkson Potter 2007
  • Hardcover, $30.00
  • ISBN 978-0-307-33793-1 (0307337936)
  • Recipe reprinted by permission.

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Small Bites, Big Nights


This page created July 2007

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