Delia Smith's Winter Collection
FEBRUARY 25 2012


(Please read the following in a robotic monotone voice:)
It is the year 2000. Welcome new millennium. I will celebrate with a prawn cocktail served in a martini glass. How fashion forward and futuristic this prawn cocktail looks in it's fancy stemmed serving glass. Oooh. La. La.

(You may now return to your normal inner monologue... unless you're enjoying the robot voice and want to continue)

Truthfully, I will not be serving this dish in a martini glass. Not only because that's so 2000-and-late but also because I'm taking it to a party and want it to serve more than 6 people. So, time for an update! Prawn cocktail 2012 will be served as a lettuce wrap. (Wow! How modern and fresh!)

I cook up the shrimpies and stir together the cocktail sauce. Not gonna make the mayo myself because I'm taking this to a baby shower and feel a little iffy about serving the expectant mom raw eggs. Just gotta chop the arugula and avocado then toss it all together. Easy!

prawn cocktail ingredients

So I combine the shrimp, veggies and lime juice then stir in about a tablespoon of the sauce. Whoa. That sauce is overpowering and, in my opinion, not very good. I'm glad I didn't stir the whole 1/2 cup in or the whole thing would have tasted like mayo and not shrimp or avocado or arugula.

Delia wanted me to shred the lettuce and toss it with the shrimp, so I'm actually not adding any ingredients to the dish. Just re-purposing one of them to be the serving vessel. And it works pretty well. The lettuce adds a nice crunch to the chopped shrimp and creamy avocado. I think I'll have another :)

prawn cocktail 2012


Serves 6

This recipe is part of my 1960s revival menu. In those days it used to be something simple but really luscious, yet over the years it has suffered from some very poor adaptations, not least watery prawns and inferior sauces. So here, in all its former glory, is a starter quite definitely for the new millennium!

2 lb large prawns in their shells
1 crisp-hearted lettuce, such as Cos 
1 oz rocket leaves 
1 ripe but firm avocado 
Cayenne pepper 
1 whole lime, divided into 6 wedge-shaped sections

For the sauce: 
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 dessertspoon (2 teaspoons) Worcestershire sauce 
A few drops Tabasco sauce 
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 dessertspoon lime juice


The very best version of this is made with prawns (either fresh or frozen in their shells) that you have cooked yourself. Failing that, buy the large cooked prawns in their shells, or if you can only get shelled prawns cut the amount to 1 lb (450 g).

To prepare them: if frozen put them in a colander and allow to defrost thoroughly at room temperature for about 1 hour. After that, if using uncooked prawns, heat a large solid frying pan or wok and dry-fry the prawns for 4-5 minutes until the grey turns a vibrant pink. As soon as they're cool, reserve 6 in their shells for a garnish and peel the remainder. Then take a small sharp knife, make a cut along the back of each peeled prawn and remove any black thread. Place them in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and keep in the fridge until needed.

To make the cocktail sauce, prepare the mayonnaise and add it to the rest of the sauce ingredients. Stir and taste to check the seasoning, then keep the sauce covered with clingfilm in the fridge until needed. When you are ready to serve, shred the lettuce and rocket fairly finely and divide them between 6 stemmed glasses, then peel and chop the avocado into small dice and scatter this in each glass amongst the lettuce. Top with the prawns and the sauce, sprinkle a dusting of cayenne pepper on top and garnish with 1 section of lime and 1 unpeeled prawn per glass. Serve with brown bread and butter.

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection.

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