English Prawn Cocktail

This classic English prawn cocktail is the last recipe I had my Mum teach me how to make while she was here visiting me in Mattawa earlier this month. When I was younger I remember her hosting dinner parties and serving this dish as a starter, and even though us kids were never “invited” she would always make some for us too, and I loved it! In America shrimp cocktails just aren’t the same! They’re traditionally made with a tomato-y/horseradish sauce that’s really strong and pungent, and I just can’t get used to it. And by used to it I mean: I hate American shrimp cocktail! So I was happy to get this recipe from my Mum and show my husband what a “real” prawn cocktail tasted like. 😉 I thought he would say he loved the American one better all the way, but actually, he really loved this version, so I was hoping my American friends would too!

I actually ended up making two different versions that were just slightly dissimilar, because my sister said tomato ketchup was SO much better and would make it a little sweeter. Then in the English addition of Good Housekeeping they had a traditional recipe with ketchup I thought i’d try out, but I couldn’t decide which one I liked better, so I posted both! My mum’s version is delicious, simple, and inexpensive. The Better Housekeeping version is a little more gourmet (and presentable) but was pretty expensive (to buy tiger prawns) and yet didn’t taste much different at all! Honestly, next time I might make my mum’s recipe, but present it like the good housekeeping version to get the best of both: delicious, simple, inexpensive, and beautifully presented! It would make a perfect starter to host my own dinner party, or even just for a light weeknight meal.

Ingredients (for my mum’s prawn cocktail)
1 lb prawns
1 cup mayo
1 Tbsp tomato puree/paste
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
iceberg lettuce

Combine the mayo, tomato puree, worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir in 3/4 of the shrimp

Chop the iceberg lettuce and place in the bottom of 4 bowls. Place equal portions of the prawn mixture on top, and garnish with the rest of the prawns. Garnish with a slice of lemon. 

Ingredients (based loosely on the good housekeeping recipe)
1 lb king/tiger prawns
1-2 Tbsp butter
4oz iceburg lettuce
6 Tbsp mayo
3 Tbsp tomato ketchup
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon plus lemon wedges to serve
few dashes of tobasco/hot sauce
few large pinches of paprika (optional)
1/2 cucumber

Directions: for uncooked shrimp: place in a pan with a little water and butter and steam until pink (for about 2-3 minutes)

Set aside 4 unpeeled Tiger prawns for garnish later 

Peel the remaining shrimp, and place in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper  

Add the mayo, ketchup, lemon rind, tabasco, lettuce (which I forgot), and a pinch of paprika and stir to coat the shrimp.Lay out the slices of cucumber at the sides and bottom of your glass dish

Fill the dish with the shrimp mixture. Sprinkle some paprika on top, and garnish with an unpeeled tiger prawn, and a wedge of lemon.

Both of these recipes are so delicious: creamy, lemon-y, a little tomato-y, {non horseradish-y!} 😉 I would love to hear what Americans think of it, so please try one and let me know!

Hope you’re all having an amazing day today! <3 Sarah