Back to the 70´s – Prawns in Lettuce Cups

Getting Groovy with the Prawns

Do you remember the 1970s? Well, I am sure some of you do, even if you were only babes in arms.  I was a young teenager at the end of the 1970s but it was a time in London when great changes were afoot in the world of food.  The height of sophistication at the time for a dinner party was probably something along the lines of prawn and avocado cocktail, steak with pepper sauce and Black Forest gâteau for dessert. And nothing wrong with any of that I say…but the 80s were soon going to herald the advent of Nouvelle Cuisine (or really tiny portions) and strange mixtures of ingredients such as Loin of some Obscure and Almost Extinct Creature Marinated in a Gooseberry and Guinness Jus. Well, you know what I mean.

Having watched a DVD of Abigail´s Party (I wish I knew how to insert video clips), I was clearly feeling nostalgic and decided to go a bit retro with my peeled prawns. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and accept you´re getting old…

Ingredients for 4 people as a starter

  • Two lettuce hearts (use 8 of the bigger outside leaves and use the rest for salad)
  • 1 cup of peeled prawns, cooked and cut in half if large
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped (not too finely)
  • 1 ripe avocado (chopped into small cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Half a cup of Marie Rose sauce (I made mine using 3 tablespoons of tomato ketchup, 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 heaped teaspoon of horseradish sauce, 1 teaspoon of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce and 1 tablespoon of sweet chili sauce)
  • Pimentón to taste

Simply mix all the ingredients together and spoon into the lettuce leaves.  Sprinkle with hot or sweet Pimentón.

Now, put some groovy 1970s dinner party music on the built in Hi-fi, slip into a glamorous kaftan and enjoy the evening….

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74 thoughts on “Back to the 70´s – Prawns in Lettuce Cups

  1. Oh, yes, I’m afraid I do remember when prawn cocktails signified sophistication! Yours look wonderful, though, and I’m sure taste good. There wasn’t anything really wrong with food in seventies, in itself, if was just limited and now I think it’s time to return to prawns in mayonnaise. A friend made them for us the other night and I enjoyed them!

    1. It´s true what you say about food being limited. We used to be lucky enough to go to Italy every year to visit family and bought back olive oil with us because when I was very young I think you could only buy it in teeny tiny bottles in Boots (pharmacy) for medicinal use…whatever that was!

      1. I was lucky too, to grow up in Mediterranean countries, but I remember knowing people who hadn’t eaten pasta until they went to university – impossible to imagine these days!

  2. “A glamorous kaftan”? You just don’t see those words in the same sentence, let alone used together, anymore. Rather oxymoronic, no? 🙂

    I don’t care what decade it came from, this would make a great starter both in taste and presentation. Good, fresh ingredients will never go out of style. Thanks, Tanya, for what must be a tasty way to begin a meal.

    Now, about that video …

    1. John, you´ve clearly never had a rummage round my mother´s scary kaftan collection. I wish I was joking but I really am not! Do have to admit to a few drunken photos with girlfriends (not so long ago) when we all put my mother´s kaftans on…she saw the funny side (eventually)!

      It was a fun starter, and the prawns were big and juicy, so very tasty indeed.

  3. Hey I remember shrimp cocktails. Haven’t had one in, well decades actually and your version looks A LOT LOT better than the poor little things from the 70s/80s/oh my god that was a long time ago. Anyway, avocados certainly weren’t around that I knew of so the cocktails were 1000 island dressing smothering lettuce and shrimps. That was about it.

    I think I will have to check your one out – Yummo.

  4. I regret I remember when ‘Vesta’ Curries and risottos were considered the height of cool.

    The management always started his meals out with a ‘prawn cocktail’ when we went out back then. Weren’t most prawn cocktails followed by ‘well done'(burnt) steak and banana splits?

    1. God, Vesta curries – that takes me back to Uni days where I was in Halls which provided food. It was so dire we all used to run upstairs after dinner and make Vesta curries on the little two ring burner we had in our kitchen!

  5. Far out!! Thanks for bringing back a dish that never deserved to be left behind!
    Here’s something I wonder about, Tanya. In certain restaurants and on certain menus, various items are described as appetizers. But it seems to me that an appetizer’s job is not to fill us up, like so many do, but rather to whet and wake up the appetite. These little numbers of yours do just that! positively nummy!

    1. So funny, Alison Steadman is brilliant in that. And as some of my pals call me “Tarn” (for Tanya) and my surname is Russo, I´ll have to say “groovy” to Demis Roussos!

    1. It´s always tricky isn´t it when one person can´t “appreciate” an ingredient as much as the other. I guess it would be easy to just add avocado to half the mix though on this one!

  6. how fun!! I once did a dinner party of all retro foods!! It brought back so many memories and laughs from everyone! I’ll have to make a note on this recipe for next time!!

  7. They do a very good prawn cocktail in Lorelei, and you can never have enough cheese, so fondue or cheese and wine parties are great by me. Fanny Cradock has some great tips 😉

  8. I remember this well. There was also a crab stuffed avocado that was popular back them. This is my first visit to your blog, so I took some time to browse through your earlier posts. I’m so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I’ll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  9. I’m feelin’ groovy just looking at this saucy shrimp dish. Ah yes, I remember Mama Cass and the kaftans…never wore one of those, but I do remember wearing quiana knit paisley wide collared disco shirts and flare legged pants…an um interesting time in fashion all around! A really fun and made me smile trip down memory lane and your prawns in lettuce cups looks delicious, Tanya!

    1. Thanks Betsy – I was too young for kaftans but I do have a fab picture of me aged about 13 with a very groovy pair of flares with diagonal stripes (lucky I wasn´t a porker) and a short feathery haircut! Glad you liked the recipe and the trip down memory lane. Ah..Mama Cass….!

  10. Haha, even the pastel salmon color of the prawn salad screams 70s/80s. I love it.

    I remember my favorite hairstyle being the ponytail to one side, and boy, did I sport those leggings with over-sized sweatshirts and fluorescent accessories. 🙂

  11. In these parts these are still the height of sophistication. Not the lovely version you’ve made but nasty frozen prawns in mayonnaise with tomato ketchup in it! I’m only joking a little bit.

  12. I love this… I’m certain my parents made the shrimp cocktail appetizers all the time!! The 70’s were awesome!! Fringe leather vests.. headbands.. bellbottom jeans.. but how would I know what they wore back then;) I love your new “update” on an old faithful dish!

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