A Throwback Recipe From My Childhood
When Grandma Zimmern entertained, she made small Pepperidge Farm bread circles, spread them with butter and topped each with a curled anchovy. That was her idea of fancy. Once a year, as a prelude to her main course, she would send one of these salmon-tomato aspics out, to the delight of the cheering Zimmern family. Now this kind of dish is old-school in every sense, but I swear it is making a comeback, and you should get on the bandwagon before you are labeled a culinary poseur by all of your friends.
- One 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 6 black peppercorns
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 envelopes unflavored powdered gelatin
- 1/2 cup hot chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 6 large hard-cooked eggs, sliced 1/3 inch thick
- 1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 1/2 pounds skinless poached salmon, flaked
In a medium saucepan, combine the tomatoes and their juices with the onion, lemon, sugar, peppercorns, cloves and bay leaf and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat for 20 minutes.
Strain the tomatoes through a fine mesh sieve set over a large heatproof measuring cup, pressing on the solids to extract as much juice as possible; you should have about 1 1/2 cups. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt. Stir the gelatin into the hot stock until completely dissolved. Then whisk the mixture into the hot tomato juice. Let cool.
Line the sides of a nonreactive 9-inch ring mold with the slices of egg, and line the bottom with a ring of sliced olives. Place the mold on a small baking sheet and fill the mold with the flaked salmon, trying to not disturb the eggs and olives. Carefully pour in the tomato juice, filling the mold to the top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least 12 hours.
Unmold the ring onto a chilled plate, cut into slices and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The aspic can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.