Scrumpy battered Dublin Bay prawns

Serves 4

Light, crisp battered Dublin bay prawns, langoustine or scampi tails make a great bar snack, starter or main course. Fresh or frozen work equally well.

I like to serve just a straightforward traditional tartare sauce with these, but you could also choose to spice it up with a bit of chilli; or alternatively, you could serve a mayonnaise with lots of fresh green herbs in it.

300-350g peeled scampi tails, or more if you wish
150g self-raising flour
About 150-200ml chilled scrumpy or dry cider to mix
Vegetable or corn oil for deep frying
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Lemon wedges, to serve

For the tartare sauce

4-5tbsp home-made or good-quality mayonnaise
15 small gherkins or 2-3 large dill pickles, finely chopped
2tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped
1tbsp chopped parsley

First make the tartare sauce: mix all of the ingredients together and season to taste. Then, to make the batter, put most of the self-raising flour into a bowl (reserving a couple of tablespoons) and carefully whisk in enough of the scrumpy until you have a fairly thick batter; then season.

Preheat about 8cm of oil to 160-180C in a large thick-bottomed saucepan or electric deep-fat fryer.

Put the 2 tablespoons of flour on a plate and season well. Dust the scampi tails in the flour then dip them in the batter in manageable batches and carefully drop into the hot fat.

Cook for 3-4 minutes, turning them in the oil as they are cooking with a slotted spoon until golden, then remove and drain on some kitchen paper.

Serve immediately with the lemon wedges and tartare sauce.

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