Tomato Aspic

Okay, go ahead and call me old-fashioned. I can take it. Really.

Yes, I’m going way back in time today with this recipe for Tomato Aspic. It’s one of those classic recipes that you rarely see any more, but one which I wish more people would serve. I remember many, many ladies luncheons, bridal showers and other occasions from my young adult years where Tomato Aspic was an important part of the menu. It was served as either a side dish salad or as the first course and usually atop a few butter lettuce leaves. But always with a tiny dollop of mayonnaise. Always. Some cooks make aspic with tomato juice, but I’ve always liked this recipe that uses halved tomatoes that keep their shape in the finished dish. I most often mold my aspic in a loaf pan because I usually serve it in little squares, but you can use a ring mold as well and fill the center with chicken salad or something similar. It’s also a nice touch to make a flavored mayonnaise for the garnish. Aioli is great with tomato aspic. So is a shrimp flavored mayo or just a simple lemon and herb mayonnaise. The aspic would also be very pretty with a variety of heirloom tomatoes of different colors.

I wish I had the time (and the inclination) to make a tomato aspic the really old-fashioned way using lovely beef bones that are roasted and then slow cooked to make a gorgeous, delicious gelee. Ripe tomatoes and finely chopped aromatic vegetables are placed in the gelee and chilled in a mold. I’ve only had the really old-fashioned aspic a couple of times and it is truly luscious. Maybe when I retire I can spend two days making tomato aspic, but for now I’ll use this recipe with its gelatin method. It’s very good, too.

You’ll need 4 or 5 very ripe, juicy tomatoes. Peel and core the tomatoes and cut them in half. Put the tomatoes in a measuring cup and press down firmly so that the tomatoes fill all the air spaces in the cup. You want about two cups of halved tomatoes.

Spoon out about two tablespoons of the tomato juice into a small bowl. Add the gelatin and mix it well with the juice. Put about half of the tomatoes and the gelatin into a medium saucepan and bring it just to a boil, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining tomatoes, salt and pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire, parsley and celery leaves. Stir to combine well.

Tomato Aspic in mold

Pour the mixture into a loaf pan or small mold. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

To serve, dip the mold into hot tap water for just 3 or 4 seconds.

Tomato Aspic inverted for serving

Invert the aspic onto a serving dish or cutting board. Serve the aspic sliced with a scant teaspoon of mayonnaise as garnish.

Enjoy!

Tomato Aspic
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Fresh tomatoes with celery and parsley in gelatin
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 or 5 very ripe, medium tomatoes
  • 1 envelope gelatin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tblsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tblsp. finely chopped celery leaves
  • Mayonnaise for garnish
Instructions
  1. Peel and core the tomatoes.
  2. Cut them in half and press them into a measuring cup. You should have two cups of firmly packed tomatoes with their juice.
  3. Spoon out about two tablespoons of the tomato juice into a small bowl. Add the gelatin and mix it well with the juice.
  4. Put half the tomatoes and the gelatin into a medium saucepan and bring just to a boil, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining tomatoes, salt and pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire, parsley and celery leaves. Stir to combine well.
  6. Pour into a loaf pan or small mold. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  7. Serve the aspic sliced with a scant teaspoon of mayonnaise as garnish.
Notes
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Comments

    • says

      Hi Mari – I’m glad I could share something new with you. I’ve visited your beautiful blog, too, and found so many wonderful recipes there! I’ll be trying some soon.

  1. Lizzie in LA says

    My Mom used to make something very similar to this. She would now be 104, so I guess it’s really old fashioned. But then again so am I. Thank you so very much for this memory-provoking recipe. You’ve got to season the mayo!!

    • says

      Hi Lizzie. I did suggest several different versions of seasoned mayonnaise that you could use. However, the classic presentation is with a very good, usually homemade, plain mayo.

  2. says

    This is old-fashioned in the best way! When we cleaned out my grandmother’s house after she passed away, I got the aspic molds. Tiny tin molds held together with a green rubber band. I’ve never made aspic – you’ve inspired me to get out the molds and try!

    • says

      Aspic molds are one of the few kitchen things that I don’t have, Lucy. I’ve seen them many times in antique stores but never brought them home with me. Maybe I’ll pick up a set next time.

  3. Alice Beth says

    while searching the web for a particular cake pan for my sister, I found the site http://www.fantes.com….oh my, I could waste so much time and money there, but they have ……aspic cutters…..never heard of them before, though I have eaten my share of tomato aspic.

  4. Brenda says

    I have an old church recipe book w/ something similar to this in it. That recipe calls for a can of tomato soup *gag* but THIS version looks delightful! :D

    • says

      Brenda – Yes, during the mid-century timeframe tomato aspic got a really bad name from the use of tomato soup or vegetable juice instead of nice ripe, juicy tomatoes. I much prefer this recipe – it’s a lot older than the tomato soup/veggie juice versions :-)

      • Brenda says

        it’s nice to have your pics as my mental image when I come across that recipe next time…Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jocelyn says

    Oh my, you’re so going to shoot me, but I cannot abide tomato aspic. When I was young, my Mother used to make tomato aspic & other gastly veggie molds a lot, as my Father loved them. We, my brother & I who disliked them, had to eat them as there was no such thing as not eating what was put in front of you.
    If we dared to refuse eating the food on our plates, my Fathers rule was we had to sit at the table (sometimes for hours) until we finally gave in and ate what was now, a horrid looking mess.
    That’s my memory of tomato aspic & any other jellied veggie dish. *shudder!*
    But, even though I’m not a fan, I bet you’ll have many readers who will be, after trying your recipe!

      • Jocelyn says

        Oh I have a feeling you might have taken my post the wrong way Lana. I truly didn’t mean to offend. I saw your aspic and it brought back an old memory I’d not thought about in years. Hence my explanation of my mothers obsession with aspic. I do apologize if what I said upset you.

  6. says

    well I’ll be…. this is such a classic, a real ringer… the real deal in other words… I am not a big fan of tomato aspic as some folks serve it up, all shaped in cute little molds with tart, tangy overtones in a base of beef bullion… but reads and looks to be the best aspic I have seen… got get to making it soon… gonna tell everyone my Georgian cousin gave me the recipe…

  7. Tom from Florida: says

    Any information on origional tomato aspic and where to purchase the Royal tomato aspic type gelatin, will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  8. Lavonne Gould says

    Is there anywhere I can buy aspic? I used to get it from the grocery store, but can’t find it anymore. It came in a can. Thank you.

  9. Lana R says

    Lana! It’s Lana. :)

    My mother used to make tomato-juice based aspic every Thanksgiving and I loved it as a child. I’ve made it a few times as an adult, but I confess it’s never really caught on with my 20-something-aged friends. I’m happy to see a version using whole tomatoes in a smaller size that I could enjoy myself over a few days. The mayo topper sounds like a win too! I am enjoying pouring over your recipes and website.

    Cheers!
    Lana in Seattle

  10. Dawn J says

    Showed this to my daughter (13 yrs old). She laughed and said, “It’s a jellied Bloody Mary!” I had to agree with her, laughing all the while. This is a great basic Aspic recipe. Makes me want to make up some sinfully rich shrimp salad (maybe lobster, if I feel flush), and serve it with a scoop of the seafood salad on top. Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. KC from Cayce says

    I made this delicious recipe for Christmas and a couple of times since. Instead of mayonnaise, I mixed together cream cheese and sour cream. WOW!

  12. Belva says

    I have these beautiful little molds, hold about 1/2 cup. My question: how is best way to grease molds? I have my mother in law’s recipe. Am making 100 tomato aspic molds for my grandson’s wedding rehearsal supper..

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