Deconstructed prawn cocktail

A twist on an old classic. When my mother and I were cooking together, it was always one of the most popular dishes. Even today we still get requests from customers for it, so I’ve developed a modern take on it.

Ingredients


  • 18 large raw tiger prawns, peeled and veins removed
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tblsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 100 ml (3 1/2fl oz) mayonnaise
  • 2 tblsp tomato relish (shop bought)
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, stone removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp clear honey
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 9 cherry vine tomatoes, halved
  • 2 little gem lettuces, outer leaves discarded and stalk ends trimmed
  • basil purée (page 243), to garnish
  • pared lemon rind, to garnish
  • fresh micro coriander, to garnish

Mayonnaise (makes 250ml)
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • pinch of caster sugar
  • 100 ml (3 1/2fl oz) olive oil
  • 100 ml (3 1/2fl oz) rapeseed oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Basil purée
  • 350 g (12oz) fresh basil leaves
  • 250 g (9oz) spinach leaves, tough stalks removed
  • 200 ml (7fl oz) rapeseed oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Pat the prawns dry with kitchen paper. Mix together the garlic, chilli, lemon juice and rind in a bowl and fold in the prepared prawns. Cover with clingfilm and chill for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the prawns and stir-fry for 2 minutes, until cooked through and pink, then tip onto a plate and leave to cool. Cut in half down the length of the prawn.
  3. Mix 4 tablespoons of the mayonnaise with half of the tomato relish and set aside to use as a garnish. Place the remainder in a liquidiser with the avocado, the rest of the tomato relish and the coriander and blend until smooth. Transfer to a squeezy bottle.
  4. Mix together the honey, balsamic vinegar and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a bowl and season to taste. Fold in the halved tomatoes.
  5. To serve, arrange the prawns on plates and pipe the avocado mayonnaise alongside, then top with the Little Gem lettuce leaves. Add the tomato halves with the reserved chilli mayonnaise and the basil purée. Garnish with the lemon rind and micro coriander.
Mayonnaise
  1. Break the egg into a food processor and add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the vinegar, mustard, sugar and half of the olive oil. Secure the lid and whizz for 10 seconds.
  2. Leave to stand for a couple of seconds, then turn on again and pour the remaining olive oil and rapeseed oil through the feeder tube in a thin, steady stream. This should take 25–30 seconds.
  3. Switch off the machine, take off the lid, scrape down the sides and whizz again for 2–3 seconds, then season to taste. Transfer to a squeezy bottle and chill until needed. Use as required.
Basil purée
  1. Blanch the basil and spinach for 2–3 minutes in a pan of boiling water. Strain out the water, reserving 300ml (1/2 pint). Place the basil and spinach in a Thermomix (see page 273 for details) or blender.
  2. Take the reserved water that was used for blanching and the oil and gradually add them to the blending basil and spinach. Blend for 30 seconds, until smooth, and season to taste. Place in a squeezy bottle and use as required.

Notes:

Neven's cooking ahead tips: Basil purée and the mayonnaise can be kept for up to 1 week in the fridge. The prawns can be cooked and chilled up to 8 hours in advance and covered with clingfilm. For a good wine match, try a Verdejo wine from Rueda in Spain or from Australia. A light-bodied red wine from Beaujolais would also be a good match.





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