Titanic Dinner – an Updated Hors d'Oeuvre

Last weekend on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, we had a dinner party commemorating the final first class dinner of the fateful cruise. I updated the menu considerably to reflect contemporary tastes and planned (and prepared) six courses, but we realized you cannot eat 21st century portions – and have room for dessert, which is the most important part of the meal. Remember Emma Bombeck’s sage advice, "Seize the moment. Think of all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart." Our menu is below, but we skipped the asparagus salad. And while no one ended up at the bottom of our pool, a very good thing, this was a meal to remember.

On the Solid Ground of the Evans’ Home
Menu Updated 100 Years
Classic Champagne Cocktail (provided by our friend at Kitchen Riffs!)
Shrimp Butter in Cucumber Cups Topped with Poached Shrimp
Vegetable Consommé with Seared Scallop
Lemon Sorbet
Filet of Tenderloin, Creminis, Roquefort; Potatoes Dauphinoise; Stuffed Zucchini
Asparagus Salad with Champagne-Saffron Vinaigrette

This was a tremendously fun theme for a dinner party, and I enjoyed studying the original 11-course extravaganza menu, French-based, and typical dining for those in the upper class during the latter years of the Edwardian era. While the menu is readily available online (Google “Titanic first class dinner menu”), details on the preparations are speculative based on the time. Think rich, caloric – both from food and drink – and a dinner that lasts hours. Some of the courses had a few choices, for instance, the first entrée (the fourth course) surprisingly offered a vegetarian option, rice-stuffed vegetable marrows, similar to zucchini.  ** I made delicious tofu chocolate mousse, using Ghirardelli 70% extra bittersweet chocolate and Grand Marnier instead of Kahlua.

Our first course, a hors d'oeuvre, was based on Canapes a l'Amiral. The recipe below is conceptually similar to the original, but the shrimp spread is served on hollowed out cucumber rounds rather than crostini and topped with a poached shrimp rather than caviar. The shrimp butter was divine and can be made in advance and refrigerated. I reduced the ingredients in the recipe below by half because we had a ton leftover. Not that that was a bad thing. Connor enjoyed it the next day as a grilled cheese sandwich. Next time I will poach smaller shrimp for the topping and use a whole shrimp on each cucumber cup for a prettier presentation.
Updated Shrimp Butter in Cucumber Cups Topped with Poached Shrimp
Serves 28

1 T oil
1 large shallots, peeled, ends removed, minced
1 cloves garlic, peeled, ends removed, minced
8 ounces shrimp in shell, rinsed
2 T cup brandy
2 ounces cream cheese, softened (regular or reduced fat)
1 T butter, softened
1/2 T tomato paste
1/4 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
Dash of vanilla

2 English cucumbers
9 large shrimp, poached and sliced in half lengthwise
Fresh dill, minced, for garnish

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.

Add the shallot and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until softened. Increase heat to high and add the shrimp. Sauté shrimp for 4 minutes or until the shells are pink and the flesh is opaque. Remove the shrimp and cool.

When shrimp are cool enough to handle, peel and discard shells. Transfer shrimp to a food processor fitted with the steel blade or a blender.

Return skillet to the heat and add brandy. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds or until the brandy is reduced to a glaze. Scrape the glaze into the shrimp mixture. Pulse shrimp mixture until it is coarsely chopped.

Add the cream cheese, butter, tomato paste, salt, pepper and vanilla. Process until almost smooth and set aside. This can be refrigerated up to a day ahead.

Just before serving, cut cucumbers into 28 3/4-inch-thick rounds. Scoop seeds from centers of cucumber rounds, using a melon baller or small spoon, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell. Fill cucumber cups with shrimp spread. Top each with half a poached shrimp. Garnish with minced fresh dill.


  1. What fun!! Did everyone come dressed in the day too?!!

    1. No because John was the only one who knew the theme since he was cocktail man.

  2. Oh good! The shrimp recipe! Those were absolutely delish (whole dinner was wonderful, and lots of fun). Really good write up! Thanks for this - & dinner!

  3. Thanks, John. And what a way to start the evening with champagne cocktails!

    Blogspot is giving me fits so the hyperlink is in gray, not the intended orange, but the mousse recipe is also on my blog if you're interested.

  4. This sounds like a fun evening and the menu is without a doubt high society. What a great ideA to have a theme party and these shrimp sound so tasty. I will have to try them.

    1. Thanks, Vicki, for taking a look. When we get together for our dinner, perhaps we should consider a theme?



Related Posts with Thumbnails