Beer-battered scampi with tartare sauce

Preparation time
less than 30 mins

Cooking time
10 to 30 mins

Serves 4

From Hairy Bikers' Best of British


  • 16-20 wild Scottish scampi tails, peeled and thawed (if frozen)
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • lemon wedges, to serve

For the batter

  • 75g/3oz cornflour
  • 200g/7oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 330ml/12fl 0z bottle of real ale
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar

For the sauce

  • 2 free-range egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp caster
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 150ml/5fl oz sunflower oil
  • 50ml/2fl oz extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g/2oz capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 50g/2oz mini gherkins (cornichons), drained and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon


  1. For the tartare sauce, whisk the egg yolks, vinegar, mustard, sugar and salt in a bowl with a large metal whisk until well combined. Gradually add the oil, a few drops at a time, whisking until the mayonnaise is smooth and very thick.

  2. Stir in the capers, gherkins, parsley, tarragon and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Cover the surface of the sauce with clingfilm and set aside for 20 minutes.

  3. For the batter, mix the cornflour, plain flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and stir in two-thirds of the ale. Beat with a large metal whisk to make a smooth batter. Gently whisk in the remaining ale and the vinegar. Set aside.

  4. Fill a deep-fat fryer or a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pan two-thirds full with vegetable oil. Heat the oil to 190C/375F (use a probe thermometer to check the temperature if you're not using a deep-fat fryer). (CAUTION: Hot oil can be dangerous. Don't leave unattended)

  5. For the scampi, put four tablespoons of flour in a large, plastic food bag and season with salt. Add the scampi tails, one at a time, and shake to coat in the seasoned flour.

  6. Stir the batter and then dip one piece of floured scampi into the batter until thoroughly coated. Remove with tongs and gently place it in the hot oil. Repeat the process with a further 3-4 pieces of scampi and add to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes until golden-brown and crisp.

  7. Remove the scampi and drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm. Bring the oil back to temperature, and cook the remaining tails in 2-3 more batches.

  8. Spoon the sauce into four small dishes – ramekins are good – and put on four warmed plates. Divide the scampi amongst them, add lemon wedges for squeezing and serve.

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