Classic Fresh Tomato Aspic
- BLOODY MARY VARIATION:
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes coarsely chopped (or 3 [14-oz cans] cans diced tomatoes)
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons grated onion
- 1/3 cup minced celery with leaves
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt - (to 2)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- Butter lettuce for garnish
- Mayonnaise for garnish
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon prepared white horseradish or more to taste
- Tabasco sauce to taste
- 2 tablespoons vodka (optional)
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring tomatoes, onion, celery, bay leaf and 1/2 cup of water to a boil uncovered. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir gelatin into remaining 1/2 cup of water to soften and set aside.
Remove bay leaf and put tomato mixture through a food mill fitted with a fine disk, or through a strainer. Return puree to pot, add salt generously to taste and lemon juice, and sugar, if needed. Stir in Bloody Mary additions, if desired. Bring mixture back to a simmer, remove from heat and add softened gelatin, stirring until thoroughly dissolved.
Rinse eight 1/2-cup molds with cold water and pour aspic into them, filling almost to top. Or pour mixture into rinsed 1-quart ring mold. Chill until firm, 3 to 4 hours or overnight.
To unmold, run a sharp knife around edge of each mold, dip bottoms of molds briefly in hot water and invert onto salad plates. Garnish each aspic with lettuce leaves and a dollop of mayonnaise.
This recipe yields 8 servings.