How to Make a Simple Prawn Cocktail with Fresh Langoustines

Langoustine tails are mixed with seafood sauce and served with a simple salad and hot toast
Langoustine tails are mixed with seafood sauce and served with a simple salad and hot toast

Prawn cocktail for many is something which is no more at home in the 21st century than the spirit of Woodstock, bell-bottoms or brightly coloured, floral pattern shirts. While it is true that prawn cocktail is something that knew its heyday in the 1970s, it is equally true that the creation remains a big favourite to this day with a lot of people. Although a prawn cocktail was and is most commonly made with small, coldwater prawns, it is equally possible to make it with the tails of the hugely underrated langoustine. This simple recipe shows how to create a prawn cocktail using fresh langoustines.

What are Langoustines?

Fresh, uncooked langoustines
Fresh, uncooked langoustines
Unsold fresh langoustines, drastically reduced in price from £1.54 to £0.19 - an incredible bargain but a sad sign of consumer shopping patterns
Unsold fresh langoustines, drastically reduced in price from £1.54 to £0.19 - an incredible bargain but a sad sign of consumer shopping patterns

Langoustines are known by a number of different names in the cold water areas in which they are found, including Norwegian lobsters and Dublin Bay prawns. They are a crustacean, just like prawns and lobsters, but they are hugely underrated, particularly in the UK. Incredibly, the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver recently revealed on one of his TV shows that ninety-five percent of langoustines caught in British waters are exported to countries like France and Spain.

Why? A majority of British consumers simply aren't interested in this sweet and absolutely delicious catch from the clean, crystal clear waters off the West Coast of Scotland...

Langoustines are quickly cooked by submerging them in boiling water with peppercorns and onion
Langoustines are quickly cooked by submerging them in boiling water with peppercorns and onion

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 5 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: One serving

The only cooking involved in this recipe is the time required to quickly poach the langoustines and make the accompanying toast. The former task can even be conducted a few hours in advance when time is short immediately before dinner and your focus is on the main course.

Seafood Sauce

This is a preparation available from supermarkets in a jar. Alternatively, you can use Thousand Island Dressing, or make your own dressing by combining equal quantities of mayo and tomato ketchup with a generous pinch of paprika, a good splash of Tabasco sauce and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Ingredients

  • 4 whole, raw langoustines
  • 1 small, white onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp seafood sauce
  • 3 large, green lettuce leaves, shredded
  • Pinch paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chopped chives
  • 1 slice of white bread
  • 1 lemon wedge, to garnish
  • Sea salt
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cooked langoustines are submerged in ice waterCooked and cooled langoustines are drainedPreparing to separate the langoustine head and tailLangoustine head and tail are separatedTail end is twisted off langoustineShelled langoustine tailsBlack vein (intestine) is revealed in langoustine tailLangoustine tails are mixed with seafood sauceShredded lettuce and thinly sliced onion forms the bed of this prawn cocktailPaprika and chives are scattered on langoustine prawn cocktail
Cooked langoustines are submerged in ice water
Cooked langoustines are submerged in ice water
Cooked and cooled langoustines are drained
Cooked and cooled langoustines are drained
Preparing to separate the langoustine head and tail
Preparing to separate the langoustine head and tail
Langoustine head and tail are separated
Langoustine head and tail are separated
Tail end is twisted off langoustine
Tail end is twisted off langoustine
Shelled langoustine tails
Shelled langoustine tails
Black vein (intestine) is revealed in langoustine tail
Black vein (intestine) is revealed in langoustine tail
Langoustine tails are mixed with seafood sauce
Langoustine tails are mixed with seafood sauce
Shredded lettuce and thinly sliced onion forms the bed of this prawn cocktail
Shredded lettuce and thinly sliced onion forms the bed of this prawn cocktail
Paprika and chives are scattered on langoustine prawn cocktail
Paprika and chives are scattered on langoustine prawn cocktail
  1. Add half the sliced onion and the peppercorns to a deep pot of boiling water. Season with sea salt. Pop in the langoustines and cook on a rolling boil for two minutes.
  2. Use cooking tongs to remove the langoustines from the pot to a bowl of iced water and leave for five minutes.
  3. Drain the langoustines through a colander. Grab the head of each langoustine in one hand, the tail in the other and gently twist to separate. Twist the tail fin off each tailpiece in a similar way.
  4. Holding each langoustine tail belly up, pull the shell apart with your thumbs to snap the, "Ribs," and remove the shells.
  5. Very carefully make a slit along the top length of each tail to reveal and remove the black vein that runs through them. This is the intestine of the shellfish, containing that which it has eaten and was in the process of digesting.
  6. Rinse the tails in a small bowl of cold water and cut in half. Stir carefully through the seafood sauce in a small bowl.
  7. Mix the lettuce with the remaining half sliced onion and season with salt and black pepper. Lay in the bottom of the serving dish before spooning the langoustine tails and sauce in to the centre. Garnish with the paprika and chives.
  8. Make your toast and cut it in to quarters. Plate along with the lemon wedge and serve immediately.
4.5 stars from 2 ratings of this Simple Langoustine Prawn Cocktail

What about the Heads and Claws of the Langoustines?

The tails of langoustines clearly represent probably less than half the body mass and this is therefore a very valid question. Although there is a limited amount of meat in the claws which is perfectly edible, the quantity often doesn't justify the effort in recovering it.

As for the heads? There are many connoisseurs of langoustines who will put the opened end of the head (that once connected to the tail) in to their mouths and basically suck out the, "Meat," and juices. I have seen this done many times and tried it several times - but I've got to be honest and reluctantly admit that it is a taste I have yet to acquire...

Try instead reserving the heads and claws for making stock or flavouring.

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10 comments

Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you very much, prasetio! - though I don't know about the master chef bit... :) I hope you enjoy the dish if you choose to give it a try.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Hi, Mary and thank you. I've been experimenting a bit with the capsules and will continue to do so. Good luck with your own experiments and I hope you find the tools useful.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

You are a master chef, brother. I really love your recipe. It sound delicious and make my hungry. Beautiful presentation can raise the appetite and you have done it well. Rated up and take care!

Prasetio


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

I just had to come and take a look at the way you have used the new recipe format. This Hub looks great. I haven't done any of mine yet. I am just waiting to see how it goes. You did a good job with this.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Hi, Beth. I'm glad you like langoustines and it is reassuring for me to know that I should persevere with the "sundry" parts of this delicious creature! I will try it again. Thanks for the visit, comment and encouragement.


Beth100 profile image

Beth100 4 years ago from Canada

Love the formatting! :) I have had these scrumptous delicacies and they are worth every effort to prep and cook. And yes, it is an acquired taste for the head, but once you are accustomed to it, it is very good.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you, rebecca. Langoustines are pretty unfamiliar to most people but they do taste just like prawns/shrimp and are really easy and quick to prepare.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Hi, Nell. They're absolutely delicious and I think it's their raw appearance that puts many people off. I know what you mean about the spelling - I forget sometimes, too! I hope you find them locally. Thanks for visiting.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Very different! Your directions and pics are awesome. voted up and socially shared!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, I had never heard of them before, we do tend to eat prawns but I shall have to look out for these, I would write the name down, but every time I go to remember how to spell it, I forget! lol! sounds really tasty though, cheers nell

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