Set the mood for your Christmas meal with an impressive starter: delectable prawns flavoured with honey, ginger and chilli and laced with some bubbly.

As the opener to your Christmas lunch menu, this starter will ensure your festivities get off to a bang. The recipe isn’t your traditional pigs in blanket, but has a certain flare – and elegance – about it. The prawns are oozing in flavours of the orient whereas the crostini is typically Italian. Served with a glamorous buttery tomato sauce overflowing in champagne, this is definitely an alternative seasonal recipe to get the party started!

Serves 8-12
Shopping List:

1 large red pepper
1 small to medium white or wholemeal crusty bread stick
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt for seasoning

For the tomato butter sauce:

3 medium ripened vine tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
25g unsalted butter
125ml chilled Champagne/ Cava/ sparkling wine/ Italian Prosecco etc
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the prawn glazed marinade:

400g fresh or frozen prawns, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon honey
2 small fresh red chillies, finely chopped
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon olive oil
175ml chilled Champagne/ Cava/ sparkling wine/ Italian Prosecco etc
½ teaspoon salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 180ºC/ 350ºF/ gas mark 4.

Place the whole red pepper in a small oven proof dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Slowly roast in the oven for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the olive oil, fresh ginger, chillies, salt and honey and mix well. Add in the prawns. Again mix well to ensure the prawns are coated in the marinade. Pour in the champagne and let the bubbles do their magic. Cover and place in the fridge for 1 hour to marinade.

While the prawns are marinading, make the tomato butter sauce.

Cut the tomatoes in half and with a spoon, scoop out the seeds and juice into a small non-stick saucepan set over low heat. With the remaining tomato, dice it finely and add to the pot. Increase the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Add a pinch of sugar and 15 grams of butter and allow to melt over the juicy tomatoes. Pour in the champagne and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, use an electric hand blender to blitz the tomato until smooth and continue to simmer over a low heat until reduced by 2/3rd the original volume. This will take a while – about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the tomato sauce has reduced to a thick consistency, add the remaining 10 grams of butter and season to taste with a little salt and ground pepper. Set aside.

Next, place a large griddle onto a high heat and, once hot, place in the prawns. Allow to sizzle vigorously to release the chilli aromas. Cook the prawns for 2 minutes on each side or until they change colour.

Whilst the prawns are sizzling away, remove the roasted pepper from the oven and tear into thins strips and place onto a plate. Slice the bread thinly, crossways. Place onto a large baking tray. Lightly toast the slices of bread on both sides until crisp and light golden.

Once the slices of bread are toasted, place thin strips of pepper on top, add a lump or two of glazed prawns then slowly drizzle with a teaspoon of the tomato champagne sauce.

If to your taste, season the crostini’s with a little black pepper and serve.

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