Greenland prawns and mayonnaise

The medium to small prawns caught in the North Atlantic, and generally referred to as Greenland, are the best I have ever tasted. They have two drawbacks: they are only available frozen, and they are already cooked when frozen. This means that most dishes involving cooking are out, or you will have to use a grossly inferior crustacean such as the tiger prawn. Only buy the prawns in their shells, as the ready-shelled ones are hopeless. Let them defrost, and serve as an appetiser with brown bread and butter and some home-made mayonnaise.

This was a very popular starter at the Old Compton Wine Bar where we used the antiquated method of measuring them by the pint.


  • at least 12 Greenland prawns per person
  • lemon wedges


  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 150 ml sunflower oil
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper


Making the Mayonnaise

Mix the egg yolk and mustard in a bowl with a wire whisk. Still whisking, add the sunflower oil in a slow steady stream. When this is all incorporated, repeat the procedure with the olive oil. You may speed up the pouring a little as the mayonnaise thickens. Add half the lemon juice, stir and taste; add more if you feel it needs it (lemons vary so much in size, acidity and juiciness that it is very difficult to be exact when specifying their inclusion in a recipe). Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Defrost the prawns slowly, do not immerse them in water, warm or otherwise. Arrange them attractively, still in their shells, on a large platter. Serve with the mayonnaise, lemon wedges and finger bowls. Normal appetites will easily manage more than a dozen of these delectable fish each.