3 quick and easy starters for Christmas Day

by Great British Chefs 22 December 2021

Looking for a last-minute dish to kick off the festive feasting this Christmas? This trio of starter recipes – one meaty, one pescatarian and one plant-based – are a doddle to put together and can be prepared in advance, leaving you plenty of time to focus on the main event.

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Tofu ‘prawn’ cocktail

If you have vegans around the table this Christmas – or just fancy something a little lighter and fresher before delving into the melange of glistening roasted delights Christmas dinner always brings with it – this dish is a clever modern take on a retro classic. Instead of prawns, tofu is dusted in paprika and lemon juice before being fried until crisp, which act as the perfect medium for silky Marie Rose sauce, lightly oven-dried tomatoes and crunchy, fresh lettuce. It contains all the flavours of the prawn cocktail we know and love – sans shellfish.

Horseradish beef carpaccio with mustard, tarragon and roast grapes

Another classic dish which has plenty of luxury about it, carpaccio is always a winner as the base – fine slices of flash-seared beef – acts as a canvas for whatever toppings and accompaniments you fancy. In this recipe, the beef is marinated in horseradish, adding a peppery kick, before being adorned with quick-pickled shallots, crunchy croutons, sweet roasted grapes, fresh tarragon leaves and little dots of mustard mayo.

Salmon tartare with beetroot, orange and pear

Salmon is a go-to Christmas starter, but try switching slices of the smoked stuff for a neat and colourful tartare. Incredibly simple to make – just dice up salmon, beetroot and pear and bind the mixture together with crème fraiche – all that needs doing just before serving is arranging it on the plate. The combination of earthy beetroot, sweet pear and fresh salmon works together in perfect harmony.