- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp smooth Dijon mustard
- salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 300mls sunflower or other neutral oil
- 150mls extra virgin olive oil [fragrant, but not strongly flavoured]
- juice of 1/2 large lemon
- the hearts of 2 little gem lettuces, finely shredded
- 3-4 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1-2 tbsp tomato ketchup, or to taste
- 3-4 shakes Tabasco
- a dribble or two of Cognac
- 2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1/4 small cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and finely diced
- 400g cooked, whole shell-on prawns, heads removed, and peeled
- 4 small lemon wedges
- touch of paprika
- Begin with the mayonnaise. Put the egg yolks into a roomy bowl and mix in the mustard and a little seasoning. Beginning slowly, beat together while very slowly trickling in the neutral oil. (Electric Whisk)
- Once the mixture is becoming very thick, add a little lemon juice. Continue beating, adding the oil a little faster and increasing the beating speed.
- Once the oil has been used up, add some more lemon juice and then begin incorporating the olive oil until you are happy with the taste.
- Now add a final squeeze of lemon juice if you think it necessary. Finally, taste for seasoning, spoon
- Decant three tablespoons of your fresh mayonnaise into a bowl, and put the remainder into a lidded plastic pot and keep in the fridge for another day. Mix into the mayonnaise the ketchup, Tabasco and Cognac; it should be regulation pink.
- Drain the lettuce and either spin-dry, or place on a tea towel, gently roll it up and then tip out into a bowl.
Assembling the dish:
- Divide the lettuce into the bottom of four big wine glasses [traditionally], top with the spring onions and cucumber, then a dollop of the cocktail sauce before you lay over the prawns, dividing them equally between each glass. A final generous spoonful of sauce on each glass should completely cover the prawns.
- Carefully slide a sharp knife between the skin and flesh of the lemon wedges, but cutting only half-way through. Attach these to the rim of each glass and sprinkle the cocktail with a touch of paprika. Brown bread and butter is, I feel, essential here.