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First-class passengers served 11-course dinner

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/4/2012 (1955 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The first-class passengers who sailed on the Titanic dined on a sumptuous array of specially prepared gourmet foods. Here is a selection from Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner by Rick Archbold and Dana McCauley.

Poached salmon with mousseline sauce

This was the only fish dish and the third course of the 11-course meal served to first-class diners on the Titanic the night before it sank. A mousseline sauce is basically a classic hollandaise to which some whipped cream has been added.

1.5 l (6 cups) basic court bouillon (recipe follows)

6 salmon fillets or steaks (each 250 g/8 oz)

30 very thin slices English cucumber

6 sprigs fresh dill (optional)

Mousseline sauce

150 ml (2/3 cup) melted unsalted butter

45 ml (3 tbsp) water

3 egg yolks

1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt and white pepper

15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh dill (optional)

50 ml (1/4 cup) lightly whipped cream

Basic court bouillon

1.75 l (7 cups) water

1 carrot, sliced

1 small onion, chopped

6 peppercorns

1 bay leaf

50 ml (1/4 cup) parsley stems

5 ml (1 tsp) salt

300 ml (1 1/4 cups) dry white wine or 175 ml (3/4 cup) white vinegar

Bouillon: In a pot, bring water, carrot, onion, peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley stems, salt and wine to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain. (Keeps, tightly covered, in refrigerator for up to 1 week.)

Fish: In a large shallow pot, heat court bouillon until just below boiling point. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, gently place salmon into bouillon (adding, if necessary, up to 250 ml/1 cup boiling water to cover fish completely). Poach fish for 3 to 5 minutes or until opaque on the outside but still coral-coloured in centre.

Mousseline sauce: Meanwhile, using a spoon, skim froth from surface of melted butter and discard. Let butter cool slightly.

In top of double boiler or heatproof bowl, whisk water and egg yolks together with salt and white pepper for 30 seconds or until pale yellow and frothy. Over barely simmering water, whisk mixture for 3 minutes or until it draws a ribbon for 5 seconds.

Remove pan from heat; whisk in warm butter, 15 ml (1 tbsp) at a time, until sauce begins to thicken. Still whisking, pour remaining butter into sauce in a slow, steady stream. Stir in lemon juice and dill, if using. Remove from heat; let cool slightly. Gently fold in whipped cream. Adjust seasoning to taste. Keep warm by setting over a pot of warm water.

Arrange poached salmon on warmed plates. Spoon sauce down centre of each piece of fish so that a border of flesh remains visible. Garnish each plate with a cucumber fan and a sprig of fresh dill, if using.

Tip: If using salmon steaks, skewer ends together with a toothpick before poaching. To make an easy but lovely garnish, bend cucumber slices in half and skewer through the centre onto a toothpick. Space evenly to create a ruffle. Enjoy this dish hot or cold.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner (Madison Press Limited, 1997) by Rick Archbold and Dana McCauley.

Punch Romaine

This was the sixth course enjoyed in the First-Class Dining Saloon on the Titanic's last night. French chef Auguste Escoffier popularized this form of alcoholic ice as a palate cleanser. Like a modern sorbet, it would have been served in dessert cups and eaten with a spoon.

1.5 l (6 cups) crushed ice

250 ml (1 cup) simple syrup (recipe follows)

500 ml (2 cups) champagne or sparking wine

250 ml (1 cup) white wine

75 ml (1/3 cup) freshly squeezed orange juice

30 ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice

30 ml (2 tbsp) white rum (optional)

Orange peel, slivered

Simple Syrup

500 ml (2 cups) granulated sugar

250 ml (1 cup) water

Syrup: In a large pot, combine sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently, until sugar is completely dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute or until syrup is clear. Let cool. (Syrup can be stored in a sterilized container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.) Makes 500 ml (2 cups).

Punch: In a blender, combine crushed ice, simple syrup, champagne, white wine, orange juice and lemon juice. Blend until well combined.

Spoon mixture into individual dessert cups, drizzle with white rum, if using, and garnish with a sliver of orange peel. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings

Source: Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner (Madison Press Limited, 1997) by Rick Archbold and Dana McCauley.

Asparagus salad with champagne-saffron vinaigrette

This was the eighth course served to first-class diners on their final meal on the Titanic. On an Escoffier menu, a salad course often followed the roast. This salad would have been presented in elongated dishes and served with special asparagus tongs.

750 g (1 1/2 lb) asparagus

1 ml (1/4 tsp) saffron threads

22 ml (11/2 tbsp) champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

2 ml (1/2 tsp) Dijon mustard

Pinch granulated sugar

45 ml (3 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 sweet red or yellow pepper, finely diced


Holding asparagus halfway up stalk, snap off woody ends at natural breaking point and discard. In a wide, deep skillet or large pot of boiling salted water, cook asparagus for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender but not limp. Drain and run under cold water until completely cooled; drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir saffron into 5 ml (1 tsp) boiling water; let stand for 2 minutes or until softened. Stir in champagne vinegar, mustard and sugar. While whisking, drizzle in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add asparagus and diced pepper; toss to coat. Arrange on lettuce-lined serving platter.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner (Madison Press Limited, 1997) by Rick Archbold and Dana McCauley.

-- The Canadian Press


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