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15 mins
Prawn Cocktail (Shrimp Cocktail) Recipe

Prawn Cocktail (Shrimp Cocktail)

Rating 5-0 out of 5 - Most cooks definitely will make this recipe again
An Ideal Recipe for Entertaining

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Since the 1970's, Prawn Cocktail (Shrimp Cocktail) has become a favourite of many people when dining out. So much so that it has become a bit "naf" (tacky, unfashionable) in recent years. Maybe that's because only the better restaurants bother to make it properly any more. Instead of a mass of fast-defrosting shrimps with a dollop of something pink on top, a true, classic Prawn Cocktail (Shrimp Cocktail) contains just a few large, quality prawns on a small bed of shredded lettuce with a little light cocktail sauce over the top. Here's how to do it properly...

NOTE: In USA you would refer to this as Shrimp Cocktail. Elsewhere there is a differentiation between shrimp (very small) and the larger prawns.

      Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients for Prawn Cocktail (Shrimp Cocktail)

If you are not familiar with any ingredients, please check our International Cooking Terms page.
US Imperial Measurements  UK Imperial Measurements  Metric Measurements

Currently displaying quantities in US Imperial Measurements
to serve 4:
large, fresh, unpeeled prawns (shrimp)
crisp Romaine lettuce (Cos)
2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons
tomato ketchup
Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco sauce


How to Cook Prawn Cocktail (Shrimp Cocktail)

  1. Prawn Cocktail (Shrimp Cocktail)Mix together the mayonnaise and tomato ketchup and add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and a few dashes of Tabasco (Keep tasting the cocktail sauce as you add the Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. You can always add some more, but you can never "un-add" it!). Squeeze the juice from the ½ lemon and mix it into the sauce.
  2. Finely shred two or three leaves of lettuce and place some in the bottom of each of four large glasses. Peel the prawns and place 5 in each glass. Pour some sauce over the top and sprinkle with a little paprika. "Hang" the remaining prawn on the side of the glass and serve with lemon wedges and slices of whole-wheat bread.

If you want to "tone down" the spiciness of the sauce, add a dash of whisky instead of the Tabasco. It will pack an extra layer of flavour to your sauce without the heat of Tabasco.
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Reviews of Prawn Cocktail (Shrimp Cocktail)

Rating 5 out of 5 - Many cooks will make this recipe again December 12 2014
Prawn cocktail!!! What did it ever do to you? It's become such a figure of culinary fun in recent years that it is hard to take it seriously as a dish - prawn marie rose sandwiches at lunchtime may be one of the safer bets, but the idea of serving the same combination to guests is still faintly embarrassing. Like gammon and pineapple, or deep-fried scampi, the indignities suffered by this dish are too much for the average cook to bear!! However, when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it because, at last, someone understands about presentation and freshness. This version turned out to ba a delicious, creamy and most attractive starter to a dinner party and everybody was seriously impressed, even though it's an "old favourite" on the recipe circuit. Don't make it too far in advance as it tends to lose its beautiful colour. If you have prepared your sauce, it only takes a few minutes to plate it up and get it to the table.
(4 reviews)
Rating 5 out of 5 - Many cooks will make this recipe again April 25 2014
ooooh that is waaay better than the stuff they dish up in restaurants near me. I've not had a prawn cocktail for years for exactly the reason you say in your introduction... "a mass of fast-defrosting shrimps with a dollop of something pink on top." So it thought it would be worth a try making it myself when I saw this recipe. And it was! That is easily the best prawn cocktail I have ever eaten. Big, juicy prawns with a delicious sauce and a little crispy lettuce. Exactly as it's meant to be. Thank you, and well done!
(3 reviews)

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Prawn Cocktail (Shrimp Cocktail)
Prawn Cocktail (Shrimp Cocktail)

In the 1970's, Prawn Cocktail (Shrimp Cocktail) became a favourite of many people when dining out. So much so that it has now become a bit "old hat".


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