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.
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.
Invert the aspic onto a serving dish or cutting board. Serve the aspic sliced with a scant teaspoon of mayonnaise as garnish.
Other aspic recipes you might enjoy from around the internet:
- Tomato Aspic Ring from Slashfood
- Tomato Aspic from The Runaway Spoon
- Epicurious’ Poached Salmon in Aspic
- Saveur’s Eggs in Aspic (Oeufs en Gelee)
What I wrote about…