Bloody Mary Prawn Salad

One of the reasons I have a huge but justified love of Jamie Oliver is his casual, instinctive and rustic approach to cooking which is what inspired me at a young age to cook. This recipe is just those things, rustic and casual and can be instinctively thrown together with a few alterations in flavours or ingredients that you love. Using his basic concept, I tweaked a few bits to make it the perfect starter at a recent dinner party. If you’ve got guests who enjoy fish, nothing excites and pleases them more than being presented with a platter of succulent shellfish with a tangy dressing and lemon for all. This is light and perfect to kick start the meal although in greater quantities it was all agreed we could have eaten it for mains as well…..

(Serves 6-8 as a sharing starter)

  • 2 small cos lettuce
  • 2 red chicory
  • 1 punnet cress
  • 1 large handful chopped dill
  • Celery leaves from celery tops
  • 2 ripened avocados
  • 2 slices of stale bread, cubed into croutons size
  • 400g cooked, juicy prawns
  • 200g brown shrimp
  • Crevettes (enough for one each)
  • Green lip mussels (enough for one each)
  • 200ml ‘Big Tom’ spiced tomato juice
  • 2 heaped tbsp mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 heaped tsp creamed horseradish
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Splash of vodka
  1. Clip the leaves off the lettuces so that you get ‘edible cups’ from the leaves to nestle your prawns and dressing. Scatter these over a couple of serving dishes.
  2. Scatter the prawns and brown shrimp over the top filling the cups.
  3. Make the dressing by placing the big tom juice, mayonnaise, lemon juice, horseradish, vodka, a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some seasoning in a processor and blend to combine. Taste and add a touch of whatever it is lacking for your tastes like Tabasco. However, make sure it is a bit too punchy and a bit over the top as when it is combined with everything else it will be blunted slightly and hold its own.
  4. Get a griddle pan on a high heat and drizzle with olive oil. Cut the avocados into thick slices and char on the griddle, seasoning generously with salt and pepper, for a few minutes each side to warm through and soften. In another pan, heat some more oil and add your cubed bread with some seasoning and fry until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.
  5. Scatter the hot avocados and croutons over the salad and prawns. Drizzle with the Bloody Mary dressing and scatter with the chopped dill, cress and celery leaves. Place the crevettes and mussels boldly on top and serve with lemon wedges as a sharing platter for an indulgent starter or light lunch…..