At long last: Heston’s Perfect Prawn Cocktail recipe, courtesy of Waitrose.
heston blumenthal waitrose prawn cocktail recipe

Along with that medieval recipe for a plucked live chicken one thing that Heston constantly mentions in interviews is that his favourite indulgence is prawn cocktail.

That being the case, you’d assume he’d long-ago have published some preposterously complicated prawn cocktail recipe, doubtless with some unexpected but ingenious twist. Surprisingly, in all these years we haven’t had a single hint as to what Heston’s perfect prawn cocktail recipe would involve.

Now, not only is there a recipe for prawn cocktail in his new recipe book Heston at Home (using diced avocado and salmon caviar, brap brap), there’s a ready-made version you can pluck straight off the shelf at Waitrose.

Product: Heston From Waitrose Prawn Cocktail.

Price: £2.99 for 180g

Availability: Good


Comes in a pleasingly solid plastic pot, encased in glossy black and bearing another motivational quote on the front.

No salad on the inside, just regular-sized prawns blanketed in thick, gunky mayonnaise, impressively freckled with vanilla seeds and a smidge of cayenne pepper.



heston blumenthal waitrose prawn cocktail recipe

Given Heston’s documented love for prawn cocktail we didn’t this could be allowed to be anything other than absolutely delicious. Fortunately it is.

The decadently thick sauce has just the right amount of zing, though there’s a bit too much of it relative to the prawns. Those prawns themselves are of an acceptable enough quality. With enough shredded lettuce this could happily serve two as a starter (and make use of that extra mayo). Or you could wolf the whole thing down at your desk like I did.

The standout feature has to be the vanilla seeds. I loved the mellow creaminess they bring. In fact – proved by the Sea Bass and Vanilla Butter recipe, and the Salmon with Liquorice they serve at the Fat Duck – vanilla and seafood is one of those Heston quirks everyone should get on board with.

You could easily make your own version of this, but there’d be a lot of leftovers unless you were catering for a big party. I definitely enjoyed it, and I’ll probably buy one again as an indulgent snack.

UPDATE 12/11/12 – Ok, I lied. 12 months on I still haven’t bought another one.