I’m not cooking Christmas dinner this year, but if I was, this would be the starter.
It has always been tradition in our family to have something fishy to start the Christmas meal (I was simply horrified when I had Christmas dinner at my in-law’s and they served up tinned beef consomme with packet croutons – we took over the cooking after that). You may think prawn cocktail dull and old fashioned – at times I’ve thought the same – but I’ve tried alternatives and still come back to this because it’s just so damned delicious.
And this Rick Stein recipe for the Marie Rose sauce is the best one I’ve found. The secret ingredient is brandy.
I love prawns but my son is so obsessed with them that he even tried to persuade me to make prawn curry when his friend came for tea. “Mummy, J’s never had prawn curry and he really wants to try it”. Nice try Eddie – I went for Spaghetti Bolognese – but to appease him we made prawn cocktail for Saturday night’s tea and he enjoyed helping to make it (see photo below).
PS. In case you’re interested here’s a recap of some of the Christmas recipes on this blog. I made my first batch of mince pies this week and am feeling quite Christmassy (I’m currently burning cinnamon scented candles and playing the Pogues).
Best ever prawn cocktail sauce
(from Rick Stein’s seafood lovers’ guide)
- 8 tablespoons of mayonnaise (shop bought is fine or you can make your own)
- 2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup
- 4-6 shakes of tabasco sauce
- 2 teaspoons of cognac or brandy (cheap cooking brandy is fine)
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Mix up all the ingredients above and add some good quality prawns. I like little ones the best as they tend to have more flavour than larger king prawns.
Serve over thinly sliced ice berg lettuce and cucumber.
Don’t forget the retro paprika sprinkling.