Tomato Aspic recipe

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Congealed tomato salad: Who could ask for anything more? (I’m serious!) This recipe, inspired by The Carriage House restaurant in my hometown of Natchez, Mississippi, makes cool little aspics stuffed with a bit of cream cheese and topped with mayonnaise for true respite on sweltering days.

  • Yield: 12 Servings


  • ½ cup boiling water
  • Two 0.25-ounce envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 3 cups thick tomato juice, warmed
  • 1 small onion, very finely minced
  • 2 ribs celery, very finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed
  • lemon juice, plus lemon zest for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 8 ounces whipped cream cheese (whipped cream cheese will offer a softer interior texture)
  • Spring or Butter lettuce mix for serving
  • good-quality mayonnaise for serving
  • chopped toasted pecans for garnish
How to Make It
  1. Pour the boiling water into a medium bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. When the gelatin is completely dissolved, stir in the tomato juice, making sure all the lumps are gone; if they persist, reheat the mixture briefly. Stir in the onion, celery, lemon juice, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and Tabasco and let cool slightly.
  2. Use a melon scoop or tablespoon to make twelve 1-inch-diameter balls of whipped cream cheese; place on a small plate and refrigerate until ready for use.
  3. Pour the tomato mixture in twelve ½-cup molds (two 6-cavity silicone mold trays are ideal) and refrigerate for 1 hour before adding the cream cheese (the gelatin mixture should be slightly set or the balls will sink to the bottom of each cavity and disrupt the mold’s pattern). Carefully insert the balls of whipped cream cheese just until submerged (avoid pressing too far down or you may disrupt the mold’s exterior pattern). Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours to ensure the aspic is well set.
  4. Before serving, run a knife around the top edge of each mold and set it in a shallow bowl of hot water just long enough to loosen the gelatin. (If using a silicone mold, place it on a cutting board and top with an inverted serving platter; press down securely before inverting to unmold.) Refrigerate the aspics again to ensure they stay cold and set.
  5. Add a handful of small lettuce leaves to each salad plate, top with an aspic, put a dab of mayonnaise on each, and garnish with the lemon zest and pecans to serve.

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