Prawn cocktail is the ultimate, tongue in cheek, retro starter, which many of us secretly love. It takes us back to childhood, when a prawn cocktail was considered sophisticated and adventurous, but had the reassuringly familiar flavours of salad cream and tomato ketchup.
Nowadays retro food is cool again and you will find that prawn cocktails have graduated to using mayonnaise and are garnished with whole prawns in their shells. You might even find grown-up ingredients like vodka and horseradish added in an attempt to turn the prawn cocktail into a serious foodie interpretation of its Seventies self. This recipe goes back to the retro roots of prawn cocktail, with an easy Marie Rose sauce keeping it simple and tasty, as well as fun.
Recipe for Prawn Cocktail
300g / 9oz large cooked peeled prawns
one unpeeled prawn per person to garnish
Iceberg or little gem lettuce
Paprika to sprinkle on top
Lemon wedges to serve
For the prawn cocktail sauce
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 ½ tablespoons tomato ketchup
dash of Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Mix together the sauce ingredients and taste to make sure it is right for you. You might like another dash of Tabasco if you like spicy food.
Shred your lettuce and arrange it at the bottom of your serving glasses or bowls. Pile your peeled prawns on top, then spoon over the Marie Rose sauce. Garnish with the unpeeled prawns and sprinkle with a little paprika. Serve with a wedge of lemon.
You can use a mixture of salad cream and mayonnaise if you are hankering after that childhood memory of prawn cocktail.
Or make your own mayonnaise if you want to smarten up your prawn cocktail, and use tomato puree instead of ketchup.
Try making a sauce with mayonnaise, tomato chutney, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish and Tabasco, for a new take on the prawn cocktail.
For shrimp cocktail just use cooked peeled shrimps instead of the prawns in this recipe. The only difference is in that shrimps are smaller than prawns and can have a slightly blander flavour, so you might want to spice up the sauce a bit.
Feeling like Modern British food rather than retro tonight? Try eating out at one of the great British restaurants in Nottingham.