notes from maggie's farm
When I was a little girl, my mother loved to serve Tomato Aspic. It was one of those dishes a little girl loved to hate. It moved. It was cold. It just wasn't right.
Funny how things come back around. We're going to give aspic a second chance, starting with this french food classic from Saveur --
Eggs in Aspic (Oeufs en Gelée)
In this classic French dish, typically served as a first course, gelatin is used to encase poached eggs in a delicate consommé.
1 1⁄2 cups chicken broth
2 tsp. peppercorns, crushed
6 sprigs parsley, chopped
3 sprigs tarragon, chopped
3 egg whites
1⁄2 leek or small onion, chopped
1⁄2 rib celery, chopped
1⁄2 small carrot, chopped
3 tbsp. port
1 1⁄2 tbsp. unflavored powdered gelatin, softened in 1⁄2 cup cold water
Kosher salt, to taste
Canola oil, for greasing
3 bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into small 1⁄2" diamonds
4 eggs, poached and chilled
Baby greens, for garnish
1. Combine broth, peppercorns, herbs, egg whites, leeks, celery, and carrots in a 1-qt. saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until egg whites start to solidify into a soft crust, 5–10 minutes. Stop stirring; simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Set a sieve over a bowl; line sieve with a coffee filter. Strain broth without pressing the solids; discard solids. Add port and gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve; season with salt. Refrigerate aspic until cooled but not set.
2. Grease four 4-oz. oval aspic molds. Spoon about 2 tsp. of aspic into each mold. Chill until almost set, 8–10 minutes. Arrange 6 pepper diamonds, skin side up, in each mold on the aspic; top with 1 tbsp. aspic. Chill until set. Transfer eggs to paper towels; trim away ragged edges of whites. Put an egg inside each mold; cover eggs by 1⁄4" with remaining aspic. Chill until completely set, about 2 hours.
3. To serve, slide a knife along edge of molds; set in a bowl of hot water for 5 seconds. Invert aspic onto plates; garnish with greens.
Photo: Michael Kraus, courtesy of Saveur.com