Next in our 12 Tastes of Christmas Series, I’m honored to welcome one of my very favorite chefs and cookbook authors, Jane Coxwell. If you caught our “Entertaining With” feature on Jane and her effortless style a few months ago, you probably remember that she also happens to be the personal chef for one very chic DVF and her husband Barry Diller… you may have heard of them? 😉 So excited she stopped by today to share her favorite throwback holiday appetizer. Take it away, Jane!
My mother is the cook in the house. She grew up in the countryside in England, so even though I grew up in South Africa, the Christmas food of my childhood was always very traditionally English. As lovely as that was, it wasn’t the most practical way of eating considering mid-December in Cape Town is hot. Like really hot. After sweating it out for many years, my mother gave in to matching our holiday food to the weather, so our Christmas meal turned into freshly caught lobsters at my best friend’s beach house. (Much better… sorry, Mom! x)
There is one dish, however, that my mother holds onto during the holidays: the prawn cocktail. This is retro food at its finest, but hard to knock because it’s such a tasty little dish and a total crowd pleaser. Whether you’re around a table in front of a roaring fire place or on the beach, this is the perfect holiday starter. Plus for the person doing the cooking, it’s really simple.
With this recipe, I haven’t messed with the original too much, because it’s a classic. I do like using different lettuces though. The slight bitterness of the endive and radicchio work really well with the sweet shrimp and the cocktail sauce, but if you can’t find them, no worries.
And for serving, use whatever bowls, plates, glasses and jars you like.
- ¼ lbs Shrimp, small – medium size, peeled and deveined
- 1 ripe avocado (optional)- small dice
- 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise (I used Veganaise)
- 1 heaped tablespoon tomato sauce
- Pinch of paprika
- Couple of shakes (or more!) of Tabasco
- Small shake of Worcester Sauce
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Lettuces: endive, radicchio, romaine
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and drop in the shrimp. Mine took 30 seconds but your time will differ depending on how big your shrimp are. They don’t take long at all and you’ll know when they are just cooked when they become opaque. If you’re not sure, take one out and cut it in half. As soon as they’re cooked, drain them and run them under cold water until they’re cool.
- Make the cocktail sauce by mixing the mayonnaise, tomato sauce, paprika, Tabasco, Worcester sauce, a squeeze of lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper. Check the seasoning and add a touch of salt if you think it needs it. Then, to loosen it up, add a splash water
- When you’re ready to serve shred the lettuce with a sharp knife and place at the bottom of your serving receptacle. Then the avocado if you’re using it, and the shrimp. Then drizzle the sauce over the shrimp and the zest of some lemon with a pinch of paprika.
You’re ready to go! Happy Holidays! Xo
*photos and recipe by Jane Coxwell