"The prawn cocktail fell out of favour as the years passed, until the fascination with reinvigorated retro food that started in the early 2010s. While I still think my 2013 idea of serving a prawn cocktail mix in iceberg lettuce cups like a san choy bao might be one of my proudest moments, this version is more timely, as we’ve slavishly incorporated another hot trend: that of the layered salad. The bright, fresh layers will be sure to impress even the most sceptical guests."
24 large cooked prawns, peeled and deveined, leave 4 with tails intact
½ iceberg lettuce, thinly shredded
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives, plus extra chopped chives, to serve
2 avocados, one thinly sliced crossway and one cut into thin wedges
1 small lemon, cut into thin wedges
thinly sliced baguette, toasted, to serve
Marie Rose sauce
350ml grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons tomato sauce (ketchup)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
10 drops Tabasco sauce
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the Marie Rose sauce, carefully crack the egg into the canister of a stick blender, without breaking the yolk. Add grapeseed oil, lemon juice, tomato and Worcestershire sauces. Insert the stick blender into the canister carefully so that the basket of the stick blender is completely covering the yolk. Turn on blender and as ribbons appear, slowly pull stick upwards and continue to blitz until thick and creamy. Add the Tabasco and blitz with stick blender until well combined. Add more Tabasco if you like it hotter. Season with salt and pepper.
Coarsely chop the completely peeled prawns and place in a bowl. Add ¼ cup (60ml) of the Marie Rose sauce and toss until well combined.
Combine the lettuce and chives in a separate bowl. Divide the remaining sauce among 1¾ cup (435ml) serving glasses, or 1 large glass bowl. Top with the lettuce mixture. Place the sliced avocado on top of the lettuce, laying flat. Place the avocado wedges standing up in the back of the glass.
Fill the glasses with the coated prawns. Hang the prawns with the tails still intact on the edge of the glass, and add a lemon wedge. Grind a little black pepper on top and sprinkle with extra chives.
Serve with toasted baguette.
Matt Preston's World of Flavour (published by Penguin, RRP $39.95) is available now from great Victorian booksellers such as Books for Cooks, Hill of Content, The Paperback Bookshop and Readings, as well as online.
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