Christmas, Entertaining, Fish, Recipes, Ultimate Budget Christmas Dinner

Prawn Cocktail With Caramelised Grapefruit, £1.15

[*This post recommends Del Monte products because I genuinely really love them, and because we are currently working together in a long term commercial partnership. I never recommend anything that I don’t genuinely use and love, but in the interests of transparency, that’s why they’re namechecked here!]

To serve 4, generously. For the full shopping list, see here.

200g small prawns, £2 (Smartprice at Asda, frozen)

90ml/6tbsp seafood sauce, 36p (£1/250ml, Tesco)

salt and pepper, <1p

1 can of grapefruit, £1.10 (Del Monte*)

130g shredded iceberg lettuce, 35p (Growers Selection at Asda)

200g cherry tomatoes, 48p (Nightingale Farms at Tesco)

half a cucumber, 32p (Growers Selection at Asda)

First defrost your prawns overnight in the fridge – best to do this in the sealed bag they came in to catch the excess liquid that comes out as they defrost. If you forget, and we all do, you can leave them in a bowl of cold water, covered, at room temperature on Christmas morning, but squeeze one between finger and thumb to make sure it is fully defrosted an hour or so before assembling to serve.

Drain your prawns well and gently squeeze them out, and transfer to a small bowl. Mix with the seafood sauce and a little salt and pepper, and set to one side.

Drain your grapefruit juice, reserving the juice. You can use this to glaze your carrots and parsnips, or as the liquid component in your mincemeat pudding, or add to festive fizz if that’s your thing, or lemonade if its not.

Heat a frying pan on a high heat on your largest hob ring – you don’t need to add any fat as the grapefruit is super juicy, but if you want to, a splash of oil or a little of any solid fat will do. Carefully place the grapefruit in, spacing it apart so you have room to turn it over, and turn the heat down to medium so it doesn’t run riot.

Fry your grapefruit segments for two minutes on one side, and then around a minute and a half on the other, until it starts to char slightly and caramelise. It may take a little longer or be a little quicker depending on your hob and pan – it’s almost impossible to be exact about these things as everyones home kitchens and personal tastes are so variable, so just keep a close eye on it. When done, remove from the heat to cool.

Either finely dice your cucumber, or shave it into thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler or julienne peeler. You can also grate it with the large holes on a box grate if you like, but this tends to produce a ‘wetter’ end result, so transfer it onto a couple of sheets of kitchen roll or a clean flat tea towel and gently squeeze it out to remove any excess liquid if you do it this way.

Quarter your cherry tomatoes, or if you’re super fastidious (like me, sometimes) you can cut them into eighths. I quite understand if you don’t want to- there’s more than enough to be getting on with – but I find it bizarrely meditative.

Divide your shredded lettuce between four bowls or glasses. Add your cucumber, then your tomatoes. Dollop in your prawns in seafood sauce, and finish with the cooled griddled grapefruit. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

If you have it in stock, you may wish to adorn with a little chilli flakes, chilli sauce, or tabasco. Lemon isn’t needed here, as the grapefruit provides the sharp citrus kick, but a little heat is always a tantalising finish. If you don’t keep these to hand, a little extra pepper will do the same job.

A version of this menu was originally devised and developed for The St Giles Trust Pantry, registered charity number 801355. You can support their vital work by texting PANTRY to 70460 to donate £5.

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Filed under: Christmas, Entertaining, Fish, Recipes, Ultimate Budget Christmas Dinner


Jack Monroe is an award winning food writer and bestselling author. Books include A Girl Called Jack, A Year In 120 Recipes and Cooking On A Bootstrap. She has won the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink award (ironically), the Observer Food Monthly Best Food Blog, Marie Claire 'Woman At The Top', Red Magazine's 'Red Hot Women', the YMCA Courage & Inspiration Award, the Woman Of The Year Entrepreneur award, the Women Of The Future media award and many more. She works with Oxfam, the Trussell Trust, Child Poverty Action Group, Plan Zheroes, the Food Chain and many food banks, schools and childrens centres to teach people to cook and eat well on a low income, and campaigns against the causes of poverty and austerity in Britain and abroad.