Although prawn cocktail might seem a bit dated, it has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Made properly with fresh ingredients, it can make an elegant yet simple starter that no one will forget in a hurry.


For the marinated cherry tomatoes
10 small cherry tomatoes, halved
dash of balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
For the marie rose sauce
4 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. tomato ketchup
dash of Tabasco sauce
dash of Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. prepared english mustard
squeeze of lemon juice
For the guacamole
2 ripe avocados
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
juice of 1 lime
To serve
20 small little gem lettuce leaves, trimmed
20 large cooked peeled Dublin bay prawns
small handful fresh chives, cut into 1cm (½in) pieces
4 lemon wedges
good pinch paprika (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the marinated tomatoes
Place the cherry tomatoes in a bowl and season generously. Sprinkle over the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Cover with clingfilm, set aside at room temperature for at least 10 minutes or up to an hour is fine to allow the flavours to mingle.

For the Marie Rose sauce
Whisk together the mayonnaise, olive oil, ketchup, Tabasco, Worcestershire and mustard in a bowl. Season to taste and add the lemon. Cover with clingfilm and chill until needed.

For the guacamole
Cut the avocados in half and remove the stones. Put the flesh in a bowl and mash to a purée. Stir in the mayonnaise and lime juice and season to taste. Cover with clingfilm and chill for up to 2 hours.

To serve
Arrange the Little Gem lettuce leaves on a large platter and garnish with the lemon wedges. Add small spoonfuls of the guacamole, the cooked prawns, marinated cherry tomatoes and teaspoons of the Marie Rose sauce. Scatter over the chives and sprinkle with a dusting of paprika, if using.



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