Let's go all retro with a classic prawn cocktail with avocado.
It may have been around since the 1970's, but it's still a favourite and so simple to make at home.
Sliced lettuce and cubes of avocado are topped with prawns in a marie rose sauce, all topped with a king prawn.
Light, refreshing and delicious.
❤️ Why you will love this recipe
- Quick and easy.
- Make in advance.
- Great in a sandwich.
- Always popular despite being old fashioned!
- Plenty of variations.
When I was growing up, if you went to any pub serving food, a prawn cocktail would always be on the menu. For many pubs, this is still the case, so this dish is still very popular. I love prawns, so I always chose this dish.
The addition of avocado is a relatively new idea, but often half an avocado was stuffed with prawns in a marie rose sauce or prawn cocktail sauce, so this is rather a fusion.
Although this dish has been around since the 70's, it's still a great entertaining idea because it's so simple and can be made in advance. It's also not too heavy or filling, so it's a great starter if you want to serve a hearty and meaty main course.
The Marie Rose sauce, also known as cocktail sauce or seafood sauce is a British sauce popularised by Fanny Craddock, a TV chef. If you haven't seen her in action, I urge you to look her up. It's truly hysterical, even if you don't like cooking.
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- Avocado - after many purchases where my avocadoes have been too hard or turned to mush when I want to serve them, I tend to buy them ripe and keep them in the fridge. I have also discovered cubed frozen avocado in some supermarkets, which would work really well in this recipe. Just leave plenty of time for it to thaw.
- Lettuce - I've used little gem lettuce as it is naturally sweet and crisp. It's a great option if you want to make it a few hours in advance as it won't go too soggy.
- Prawns - the Marie Rose sauce is quite tangy so there is no need to buy expensive prawns (shrimp) . I've used cooked peeled frozen cold water prawns and a peeled king prawn for garnish. Nobody wants to be peeling prawns at the table at a dinner party.
- Mayonnaise - use your favourite mayonnaise or you can use homemade mayonnaise.
- Lemon - fresh lemon juice for the sauce and lemon wedges to serve.
- Paprika - a traditional garnish, or you could you cayenne pepper.
- Worcester sauce - the same as Worcestershire sauce, (many British people say Worcester, rather than Worcestershire. It's pronounced 'wusster'. I am sure it's because it's just easier to say), which adds an extra tang to the prawn cocktail sauce.
- Tomato paste - traditionally tomato ketchup was used, but I find it too sweet. I much prefer a smaller amount of tomato paste.
- Seasoning - flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
The recipe card with ingredient quantities and detailed instructions can be found at the bottom of the post.
- sharp knife
- chopping board
- 4 serving bowls / glasses
Cut the lettuce in half lengthways and slice finely.
Slice the avocadoes in half lengthways and remove the stone.
Use a dinner knife to score cubes in the flesh and use a dessert spoon to scoop them out.
Make the sauce by combining the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcester sauce and tomato paste. Feel free to adjust the measurements to your own palate.
Season to taste.
Mix the prawns with the sauce, reserving the king prawns for garnish.
💭 Top tip
- If you are using fresh or defrosted prawns, they can tend to be quite watery in the packet. Give them a few minutes on some kitchen paper or they will make the sauce runny.
Divide the lettuce between the serving glasses and top with the avocado.
Pile the prawns on top.
Scatter over a sprinkling of paprika and top with a king prawn.
Add a wedge of lemon to serve, along with some brown bread and butter cut into triangles.
And now, you are back in the 1970's!
🥗 Serve with
A prawn cocktail and avocado starter goes well with a rich main course such as beef or game dishes.
- Spider Steak with Tarragon Butter
- Slow Cooker Beef Cheeks
- Slow Cooker Brisket
- Flanken Short Ribs
- Roast Pigeon
- Roast Rib of Beef
- Picanha Beef
- Pheasant with Wild Mushroom Sauce
- Pheasant and Venison Casserole
- Jacob's Ladder Beef
- Slow Cooker Venison Stew
- Tomato paste - use 2 tablespoons of ketchup.
- Little gem lettuce - use romaine or iceberg to keep the crunch.
- Seafood medley - use a combination of prawns, cooked mussels and crayfish or even crab sticks. Fresh or tinned crab also works well.
- Garnish - use cucumber, cherry tomatoes, mustard cress, quail eggs, or a few capers on top.
- Refrigerator - cover and use within 24 hours.
🍱 Prepare in Advance
- Prepare and leave in the fridge for 4 hours. Add the paprika and garnish just before serving.
While Marie Rose sauce originated in the UK, Thousand Island was created in the US.
The sauces are very similar, but Thousand Island tends to have a little more heat from mustard, cayenne pepper and other seasonings.
More seafood light bites
- Crab Canapés
- Smoked Salmon Mousse
- Smoked Salmon Canapés
- Prawn Canapés
- Seafood Bisque
- Pan Seared Scallops with Black Pudding
- Potted Shrimps
- Tuna Pâté
- Spicy Crab Salad
Prawn Cocktail with Avocado
- Sharp knife
- Chopping board
- 4 serving bowls / glasses
- 300 g peeled cooked prawns cold water
- 4 king prawns
- 1 little gem lettuce
- 2 avocadoes
For the sauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 6 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1½ tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Worcester sauce
- seasoning to taste
- ½ lemon cut into 4 wedges
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- Cut the lettuce in half lengthways and slice finely.
- Slice the avocadoes in half lengthways and remove the stone.
- Use a dinner knife to score cubes in the flesh and use a dessert spoon to scoop them out.
- Make the sauce by combining the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcester sauce and tomato paste. Season to taste
- Mix the prawns with the sauce, reserving the king prawns for garnish.
- Divide the lettuce between the serving glasses and top with the avocado.
- Pile the prawns on top.
- Sprinkle over the paprika and top with a king prawn.
- Add a wedge of lemon to serve, along with some brown bread and butter cut into triangles.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article
Starters and Soup
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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