Everybody loves a Prawn Cocktail! Prawns (shrimp) tossed in a classic rose coloured Prawn Cocktail Sauce that’s simple to make and way, way better than store bought.
So Aussie, so summer, so Christmas, so…..erm…80’s….and we love it!!!
PRAWN COCKTAIL – HERE TO STAY!
“There’s only one thing better than the sight of a pile of fresh, juicy prawns…. and that’s a pile of freshly PEELED prawns!!“
Prawn Cocktails might be a classic from the 80’s but in my books, they have NEVER gone out of fashion and never will!
In my younger days, I associated prawn cocktails with posh restaurants and feeling very grown up, eating the prawns out of fancy looking glasses with little forks. I know that nowadays, many posh restaurants do modernised versions of prawn cocktails. Plating them up in a fancy way, with poshed-up sauces (I think I even saw a prawn cocktail foam sauce once!!).
I’ve never poshed-up Prawn Cocktails. To me, it’s a classic that is perfect as it is.
Today’s, it’s a perfect summer day here in Sydney. Clear blue skies, the ocean is crystal clear (though surfers are probably sulking because there is zero surf). For festive seasons and summer holidays in Australia, the vision of piles of fresh prawns is one that is familiar to many.
And we all know that there is only one thing better than the sight of a pile of fresh prawns….
….a pile of peeled freshly cooked prawns. Am I right or am I right?? 😉
Thus the ultimate appeal of Prawn Cocktails. It’s every prawn lovers dream come true because it’s a mound of prawns that someone has already peeled for you!
How to make Prawn Cocktail Sauce (Marie Rose Sauce)
Prawn Cocktails are served with a Prawn Cocktail Sauce (also known as Marie Rose Sauce) which is made of mayonnaise, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, with optional horseradish. It’s quick and easy to make, and tastes way better than store bought Seafood Sauce which tends to have an artificialness about it and is often too sour.
I use Neil Perry’s recipe (he’s a famous restauranteur in Australia). Fab for prawn cocktails but also a great sauce generally for dipping in fresh prawns (here are 5 more Prawn Dipping Sauces!), or crunchy Coconut Crumbed Prawns, chicken fingers/nuggets, wings, and using on burgers (Beef Burgers, Chicken Burgers, Portuguese Chicken Burgers, Steak Sandwiches and Veggie Burgers).
How to serve Prawn Cocktail
It just so happens that I have martini glasses because I am rather partial to the odd martini myself. 😇However, you don’t need fancy glasses for Prawn Cocktails. Yes they are nice served in glass. But they are just as tasty and quite cute in any smallish bowl or ramekins. And failing that, serve them in lettuce cups! (Actually, that’s a great idea for an appetiser!)
As briefly mentioned above, there are many variations of Prawn Cocktail but I like to keep it classic because it’s great as is! But here are some add in ideas: diced avocado, finely chopped gherkins or dill pickles, a hint of spiciness from sriracha or tabasco in the sauce, diced mango, fresh dill.
I know many of you reading this are in or approaching the dark depths of winter, so hopefully this doesn’t make you jealous about our Australian summer but instead brings back memories of YOUR summer! – Nagi xx
- 1 kg / 2 lb medium fresh cooked or raw prawns with shell and heads on (yields ~600g once peeled); OR
- 600 g / 1.2 lb fresh cooked prawns already peeled
- About 3 cup iceberg lettuce, finely sliced
- Lemon wedges
- Finely chopped parsley (optional)
- 2/3 cup / 165 ml mayonnaise , preferably good quality whole egg mayonnaise (Note 2)
- 1 tbsp ketchup or Australian/UK tomato sauce (Note 3)
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp freshly grated horseradish (or sub 1 1/2 tsp jarred OR 3/4 tsp wasabi)
- Dash of tabasco sauce (to taste)
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (to taste + tiny bit of colour)
- If you are using whole prawns, remove heads and peel them. Leave a few whole for decorative purposes, if you wish. I find that with medium size already cooked prawns, deveining is usually not necessary (it's hard to do + so small it's barely noticeably especially with sauce).
- Mix together Sauce in a small bowl.
- Toss prawns with Sauce.
- Place a bit of lettuce in serving dishes. I like to use Martini glasses, but you can use any small serving vessel, or even small lettuce cups.
- Top with prawns. Serve, garnished with lemon wedges and a sprinkle of parsley, if using.
LIFE OF DOZER
See? I told you it was a beautiful day today. 🙂 Dozer is gagging to get to the beach so I’m signing off!