Monday, October 4, 2010

Tangy Tomato Aspic

Doesn't that look irresistible?  No, wait... What's the opposite of that?
I chose a tomato aspic recipe for the first instalment of my Season of Jellied Things.  

As soon as I started this blog back in July, several people told me I should do a tomato aspic, so this must be a fairly well known weird food.  I just think jellied foods are weird in general!  And as someone who grew up with a dog as a pet - a dog that ate canned dog food -  I am inherently suspicious of any food item that makes a shhhloooup noise when it releases from its upturned container.  (Dog owners know the sound I am referring to.)

But the picture in the Betty Crocker Good and Easy Cookbook was just too delightfully awful not to do it.  How could I resist?

So, yes... it looks terrible.  When taking your first bite of this, what you need to do is close your eyes.  Close your eyes and pretend for a minute that you aren't about to eat a spoonful of tomato flavoured jello.  

It tastes like seafood sauce... or a Caesar/ Bloody Mary.  Sort of.  It is a bit sweet and tangy like ketchup, but the Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, and ground cloves make it spicier.  And with a tuna* or seafood salad in the center (see footnote), it actually kind of works.  It's still an odd mouth-feel.  There is a reason tomato flavoured Jello isn't for sale in any grocery store I've ever been to.  I still maintain if you close your eyes and think about the tomato aspic as a sauce, it isn't so bad.

Anyway, I think this was surprisingly successful.  For me, one of the reasons I started this blog was because I've always been a cautious person... in fact, cautious to a fault.  If I let myself, I can get so caught up second guessing that I get paralyzed and I don't do or say anything. There are a lot of experiences and opportunities (food-related and otherwise) that I've passed up out of fear, and in many of those cases I've regretted not closing my eyes, holding my breath, and just going for it.  So I'm trying things that scare me a little and pushing my boundaries.  Taking a chance can be fun!

Tangy Tomato Aspic
1 pkg (6 oz.) lemon flavored gelatin
2 1/2 cups boiling water
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
3 tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. onion juice
A dash each of Tabasco, pepper, ground cloves, and cayenne pepper

Dissolve gelatin in water.  Blend in remaining ingredients.  Pour into 10 to 12 individual moulds or a 6-cup ring mould.  Chill until firm.  Serve on greens with mayonnaise*. 8 to 10 servings.

*The recipe book suggests using one of several mayonnaise-based salads found on another page.  I chose the tuna salad simply because I had a tin of tuna in the cupboard.


  1. Ugh. I didn't mean to sound so sappy in that last paragraph. I feel like I should say something snarky to offset it, but I can't think of anything.

  2. My great grandmother used to make this all the time as a salad with dinner. She served it plain with a dish of mayo on the side for those who wanted to add it to their portions. I grew up eating it, so it really doesn't seem weird to me, but everyone I know thinks it is. I've been wanting to try to make it so I googled the recipe and found your blog. I realize you wrote this several years ago, I hope you're still trying new and weird foods, I'll explore your site more after I finish this comment.

  3. This may have been a delicacy in the depression days. Before we were all overfed and overweight, it may be weird, but I am sure it was a special treat in it's time!!