Mention shrimp/prawn cocktail to an American and they’ll instantly think of large boiled shrimp accompanied by a horseradish spiked tomato sauce. Mention the same thing to an Australian and the image that comes to mind is completely different. A prawn cocktail for us are prawns (not too large) that have been liberally doused in a creamy mayonnaise and ketchup sauce, called Rose-marie sauce. The prawns are then placed on a bed of finely shredded iceberg lettuce and diced avocado. It’s a seventies retro classic that should never have gone out of fashion. It’s a crowd pleaser because the flavour combinations are simple but perfect. In this version the sauce is taken up a notch with the addition of tabasco and fresh lemon juice and the final dish is topped off with salmon roe which makes it a little more special. It’s a perfect starter for a party as it can be assembled ahead and chilled until ready to serve. For special occasions like Christmas and New Year we add lobster and crab meat to the prawns and tarragon to the sauce – heavenly!
Ingredients – Serves 2
2 large handfuls of cooked and peeled prawns – you can use more or less depending on how large you want the portions to be. I prefer small to medium size prawns
4 tablespoons best quality whole egg mayonnaise – I use Hellmans
1½ tablespoons ketchup
Half a lemon for juicing
6 drops tabasco
2 tablespoons of fine chopped chives
1 cup of very finely shredded iceberg lettuce
1 avocado, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons salmon roe
Divide the lettuce into two serving glasses or small bowls of your choice (martini glasses work well). Add half an avocado onto each lettuce mound and drizzle a little lemon juice over each. Place in the fridge to chill. For the sauce combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, a squeeze of lemon juice, tabasco and chives. Stir well and taste, adjusting the mayonnaise, tabasco, lemon juice and ketchup to get the sauce consistency and flavour you prefer. Add the prawns to the sauce and mix well. Remove the glasses from the fridge and top with the prawn mixture, making sure all the sauce gets poured in with the prawns. Add a tablespoon of salmon roe on top of the prawns and either serve straight away or cover and refrigerate until required.