Bring on Prawn Cocktails! Prawns (shrimp) tossed in a classic rose coloured Prawn Cocktail Sauce. So Aussie, so summer, so Christmas, so…..erm…80’s??
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!!). It’s quite common to see avocado in prawn cocktails too.
I’ve never poshed-up Prawn Cocktails. To me, it’s a classic that is perfect as it is. Yes avocado goes great with it. But it doesn’t need it! It doesn’t make it any better for me personally, so I stick with the base recipe.
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!
The sauce for Prawn Cocktails is a Marie Rose Sauce. A simple blend of mayonnaise, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, with optional horseradish. 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 prawns, chicken fingers/nuggets, wings and err….well, many things! (I have a brain block and am rushing because I want to get to the beach!)
As for the serving vessel for Prawn Cocktails – well, 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 leaves! (Actually, that’s a great idea for an appetiser!)
I actually made this for my 2016 Christmas Menu. Last week I shared the main centrepiece, a Baked Parmesan Crusted Salmon with a Lemon Cream Sauce and next week I will share the dessert (Aussie PAV!) as well as a post bringing the whole menu together with sides etc.
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. Have a great weekend! N x