Yabby cocktail, rockmelon, avocado, basil

Yabby cocktail, rockmelon, avocado, basil

New Classics
Mark Roper

Christmas in Australia on a plate! Prawn cocktail is a favourite in summer here, and often a mainstay in the festive season. Once again I’m using fruit in a savoury dish. The rich sweetness of the melon and the creamy avocado are perfect with the yabby. The iceberg lettuce adds freshness and crunch and, of course, authenticity.


Quantity Ingredient
12 x 100-150g yabbies
3 very young iceberg lettuces
1 ripe rockmelon, cut into quarters
2 perfectly ripe avocados
small basil leaves, to garnish


Quantity Ingredient
1/4 rockmelon
1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
10 basil leaves
100g Mayonnaise
30g dijon mustard
30ml sherry vinegar
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
tabasco, (optional)


  1. Bring a large deep saucepan of water to the boil. Kill the yabbies by placing a sharp knife between the eyes, through the shell. Plunge the yabbies into the rapidly boiling water and cook over high heat for 1 minute. Using a large slotted spoon, remove the yabbies and spread out on a tray to cool down.
  2. For the dressing, remove the rind from the quarter of rockmelon and chop into chunks. Put the chunks in a blender with the chilli and basil leaves. Blend on high speed until very smooth. Strain the mixture through a sieve, pressing it through with a small ladle or the back of a spoon. Combine the rockmelon mixture with the mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar and whisk together well. Whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil then season with salt and Tabasco to taste. The dressing should be sweet, salty, spicy and tangy so be brave!
  3. Remove the outer leaves from the lettuces and break apart the inner leaves. Peel and cut the remaining rockmelon into decorative slices
  4. Break the heads off the yabbies. Crack the claws with the back of a knife and gently ease out the meat. Peel the tails by gently squeezing the shell until it cracks slightly, peel off the shell then ease out the meat. Remove any intestinal tract. Cut the tails in half lengthways or diagonally or both. Halve the avocados, remove the stone and then quarter the halves. Take off the skin, trying to keep the flesh as neat as possible.
  5. To serve

    Arrange the ingredients on each serving plate and drizzle generously with the dressing. Scatter around the small basil leaves and serve.
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