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This Prawn Cocktail from Simon Hopkinson Cooks is a wonderfully retro dish has got to be one of the most-loved dinner party starters of all time.

From the book


With homemade mayonnaise, this recipe from Simon Hopkinson is one of the best we’ve tasted.

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the hearts of 2 Little Gem lettuces, finely shredded
4–5 tbsp mayonnaise (see below)
1–2 tbsp tomato ketchup, or to taste
3–4 shakes Tabasco sauce
a dribble or two of cognac
2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
¼ small cucumber, peeled, deseeded and finely diced
400g cooked, shell-on prawns, heads removed and peeled
4 small lemon wedges
touch of paprika
2 egg yolks
2 tsp smooth Dijon mustard
300ml sunflower or other neutral oil
juice of ½ large lemon
150ml extra virgin olive oil ( fragrant, but not strongly flavoured)
salt and freshly ground white pepper


Begin with the mayonnaise. Put the egg yolks into a roomy bowl and mix in the mustard and a little
seasoning. Beginning slowly, whisk together, while very slowly trickling in the sunflower oil. Once the mixture is becoming very thick, add a little lemon juice. Continue beating, adding the oil a little faster and increasing the beating speed.

Once the oil has been used up, add some more lemon juice and then begin incorporating the olive oil until you are happy with the taste. Now add a final squeeze of lemon juice if you think it necessary. Finally, taste for seasoning, spoon into a lidded plastic pot and keep in the fridge until ready to use.

Put the shredded lettuce in a small bowl, cover with cold water and a few cubes of ice; this will crisp the lettuce. Leave for a few minutes while you make the cocktail sauce. In another bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, ketchup, Tabasco and cognac; the sauce should be regulation pink. Fold in the spring onions and cucumber. Put to one side.

Drain the lettuce and either spin-dry, or place on a tea towel, gently roll it up and then tip out into a
bowl. Divide the lettuce into the bottomof four big glasses, top with the prawns, dividing them equally
between each glass, then spoon over the cocktail sauce, allowing it to completely cover the prawns.


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