Tomato Mousse Is The Unique Dish That Princess Diana Loved

Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales - Tim Graham/Getty Images

The daily diet of the Royal family has ranged from the predictable to the downright astonishing. (Did you know that Queen Elizabeth II sort of owned a McDonald's?) In some ways, mealtime at Buckingham Palace looked the way you might expect, according to longtime royal chef Darren McGrady. As he shared in a tell-all interview with Marie Claire, "They would come in for afternoon tea by the log fire in outdoor clothes, and then they'd all change for dinner. They'd come down in dressy ball gowns, and sit at the table ''like a 'Downton Abbey' dinner." Perhaps unsurprisingly, not Princess Diana.

She kept it low-key when it came to mealtimes. Gordon Ramsay once prepared the Princess an understated meal of sea bass with leek terrine. In fact, according to McGrady, the only thing she ever refused to eat was red meat, except for lamb, and only while entertaining guests. Fittingly, according to her former personal chef, one of Princess Di's favorite things to eat was a simple tomato mousse.

If you've never tried it before, tomato mousse is essentially ripe tomatoes pureed until smooth and served chilled. It's often served as an amuse bouche or starter during multi-course meals, as a canape on slices of crostini, or lightly dressed with a flavorful finisher like truffle oil or orange marmalade. Some folks even serve it in a martini glass. But, the princess liked her chilled tomato mousse on the savory side, served with dill and lobster.

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Bowl of creamy tomato mousse
Bowl of creamy tomato mousse - Irina Rostokina/Shutterstock

As McGrady shared in his cookbook "Eating Royally," Princess Diana's go-to mousse was a straightforward combination of tomatoes, vegetable oil, onion, mayonnaise, sour cream, tomato paste, gelatin, and fresh dill. The royal chef chilled the mousse in individual ramekins in the fridge, then just before serving, he ran a knife around the edge of the gelatin-infused mousse, popped it out onto a plate, and paired it with lemon-butter roasted lobster tail and watercress salad.

To the Princess, tomato mousse was more than just a unique treat. McGrady worked for Queen Elizabeth II for 11 years before moving to Kensington Palace with Princess Di following her split from Prince Charles in 1996. Upon moving into Kensington, the Princess of Wales ditched the grand banquet hall for a modest dining table that could seat a few friends, or she ate meals off the kitchen countertop. She even reheated leftovers in the microwave (gasp).

As McGrady fondly recalls in an interview with HuffPost, "They were the happiest times at Kensington," and it was during this time that the princess became an avid fan of clean cooking, and embarked on radical eating disorder recovery and a large-scale shift toward health and personal happiness. Quoth McGrady, via Marie Claire, "We changed everything, I threw out my Buckingham Palace recipe book and got into healthy eating." The secret to the chef's healthier version of the traditionally rich dish was fat-free sour cream and fat-free cream cheese.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.