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How to make the perfect prawn cocktail

Do you have a soft spot for this retro classic? What kind of prawns do you use, is iceberg essential, and can any fancy sauces beat mayonnaise mixed with tomato ketchup?

 

How to make the perfect black forest gateau

The prawn cocktail has become such a figure of culinary fun in recent years that it is hard to take it seriously as a dish prawn marie rose sandwich may be one of the safer bets on an office sandwich platter, but the idea of serving the same combination to guests is still faintly embarrassing. Like gammon and pineapple, or scampi, the indignities suffered by this decent dish are too raw, too recent.

The thing is, like its contemporaries the black forest gateau, or the chicken kiev, the prawn cocktail is actually an inspired creation one with, as Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham write in their book dedicated to such foods, The Prawn Cocktail Years, "the potential for being truly excellent". Sweet, nutty prawns bathed in a piquant sauce and served on a bed of crisp lettuce you have to admit, the idea has a certain charm.

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