I do love a retro prawn cocktail, made with a marie rose sauce. There are many recipes out there that tart this classic up. I am a big believer in variety, but often I crave the classic.
There are some very simple rules to follow if you want to make the perfect classic prawn cocktail.
1. It’s all about the sauce
Not too sweet, with the right balance of heat and acid. It has to be spot on as it ties your other ingredients together.
It is the marie rose sauce that makes or breaks this classic entrée. Making your own mayonnaise is probably best. I don’t, I use a less sweet Japanese style mayonnaise, either Kewpie or Keko.
As you will be using a commercially made tomato sauce/ketchup, which has added sugar, you don’t want a mayonnaise that also has added sugar.
2. Quality Produce
As with any simple dish of few ingredients, it is the quality of the ingredients that make it shine.
You can either use pre cooked prawns, or buy green and cook them yourself. What ever option you choose, just make sure they are the best quality you can get your hands on. I tend to buy medium pre cooked prawns.
3. The Lettuce
It has to have crunch, therefore I always grab iceberg lettuce. Yes, very 80’s retro, but that is the kind of girl I am. Whatever your choice is, it has to hold up against a creamy sauce and rich prawns.
Iceberg works well, not only does it have a crunch in the mouth, it is refreshing. Other varieties of lettuce with these same qualities would work just as well.
4. To Finish
A simple lemon wedge. Of course I broke this rule and used some blood limes in the ones pictured, but I couldn’t help myself. This extra addition of acid again aids in lifting the creamy sauce and rich prawns.
To serve, either go retro in a glass or plate it up however you feel. Some crusty bread on the side to mop up excess marie rose sauce is always a good idea.
Marie Rose Sauce
- 5 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon tomato sauce
- ½ teaspoon tobasco sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- lemon juice to taste
- In a medium size bowl mix all your ingredients except your lemon juice.
- Then squeeze in a little lemon juice and taste. If you feel you need to add more, do so, but do it gradually.
- Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
Of course a marie rose sauce doesn’t necessarily have to stay committed for use in a prawn cocktail. One great Aussie tradition is buying pre cooked prawns for an easy lunch/dinner. Sitting around the table with your loved ones, peeling the prawns and just generally digging in. Bread rolls may even be involved. Wine and beer would most definitely be.
Why not leave the pre-made seafood sauce at the fishmonger and whip up your own to go with those delicious prawns?