To me, this shouts special occasion. Christmas is all about being dramatic, so I got my mate down the road to stick two lovely planks of wood together to make a big old board large enough to hold the whole of my epic car crash of a Bloody Mary and Marie Rose seafood extravaganza.
It’s often the really simple things, done well, that are the most effective, so get creative, make yourself a board and wow your guests with this proper smasher of a dish.
Unclick and trim the romaine, radicchio, iceberg and chicory and spread them face up over a great big board to make receptacles for all the seafood.
Put a griddle pan on a high heat. Peel the skin off the avocados, or use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, then cut into quarters. Dress with olive oil, salt and pepper, then add to the hot griddle pan for around 4 minutes, turning as you go. Toast the bread in and around the avocado pieces, flipping when charred to make beautiful croutons.
Scatter the prawns and shrimps in and around the little cups – try and treat all the cups in roughly the same way if you can, then wind and drape over the smoked salmon. Transfer the hot avocado to the board, clank it up and divide it between the cups. Roughly dice the toasts 1cm large, then sprinkle over the board.
Add the passata, mayo, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, celery, salt, juice from 1 lemon and the horseradish to a liquidizer along with a splash of whisky, brandy or vodka. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and a lug of extra virgin olive oil then whiz together. Have a taste – it’s your job to balance out the flavours and tweak to your liking. You want it to be slightly too pungent so that it’s exactly right when you add it to the salad. Pour the dressing in and around the cups and finish with a wodge of dill and some classic old-school cress ripped over. Remove the yellow celery leaves from the centre of a celery heart (saving the sticks for another day), slice up the root, then cut off the upper yellow celery leaves and sprinkle these all over too. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, dot the platter with wedges of lemon, and you’re done. Serve any extra sauce in a little bowl on the side.