Prawn Cocktail


This classic prawn cocktail is simplicity in a glass. It’s stood the test of time for a reason.

For about 25 years straight, we spent every Christmas in Ventry, Co Kerry. On Christmas Eve we would go to mass, then go to the far side of the harbour to look at the lights in the village. There was a tradition to have candle lights in every window of every house, so the flights flickered and bounced across the water. After that, it was dinner, my job was to make the Marie rose sauce for the prawn starter. There was nothing fancy, just mayonnaise, ketchup, lemon and brandy mixed on some pre-cooked prawns, but every time I taste that sauce, it brings me back to Christmas Eve, overlooking the harbour


300g prawns, peeled and raw
1 head baby gem lettuce
½ head iceberg lettuce
4 wedges lemon
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp tabasco sauce
300ml plain oil
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Handful chives chopped



  1. Place a small pot of water on the heat, season heavily with salt, and bring to the boil
  2. Drop the peeled prawns in the water and cook for 1minute only, until just cooked, remove and chill in the fridge.
  3. To make the sauce, add the egg yolk, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and tabasco to a blender, blitz to a paste, then emulsify in the oil slowly until a thick mayonnaise is formed.
  4. Mix in the tomato ketchup, and season to taste with salt and lemon juice.
  5. Fold the sauce through the prawns, making sure they are just coated, not swimming in sauce.
  6. Set aside
  7. Slice the iceberg thinly, season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Place in the base of the glass.
  8. Place some baby gem leaves around the edge of the glass and fill the hollow with the dressed prawns.
  9. Top with cayenne pepper and chives, and garnish with a wedge of lemon


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