Delight in a taste of nostalgia with Tomato Aspic. This vintage recipe features a captivating combination of tomato sauce, lemon Jello, a touch of spice, and a tasty shrimp salad center. Perfect for a charmingly retro culinary experience.
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What makes tomato aspic the one vintage recipe you should try?
Even for the most adventurous eaters, tomato aspic is a tough sell. But what is tomato aspic anyway? The short answer is, it's seasoned jellied tomato sauce, not something most people would rush to try.
However, if you can get over your initial reluctance and taste it, you'll find it is actually delicious. The lemon-flavored gelatin softens the tang from the tomato sauce and vinegar, giving the dish a sweet and sour flavor that pairs exceedingly well with the brininess of shrimp salad.
Why should you try this tomato aspic recipe?
This fun and unique recipe is totally retro but takes a modern approach to preparation. Unlike other recipes for Tomato Aspic requiring gelatin sheets that can be a little iffy when it comes to setting correctly, this one goes with no-fail Lemon Jello that you have made dozens of times before.
Do you want to change the tomato aspic recipe up a bit? Check out the 'Recipe variation' section for a few ideas.
Tangy Tomato Aspic With Shrimp Salad ingredients
For the recipe for tomato aspic, you'll need:
- Lemon-flavored Jello
- Boiling water
- Tomato sauce, smooth and canned
- White vinegar
- Onion juice
- Hot sauce, like Tabasco
- Ground cloves
Onion juice isn't a common ingredient. You can either make it yourself or buy a bottle. Just make sure you purchase onion juice meant for eating, since some people use it as a beauty aid! Howard's Onion Juice is a popular brand.
For the shrimp salad, you'll need:
- Cooked shrimp
- Romaine hearts
- White onions
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Smoked paprika
How to make tangy tomato aspic and shrimp salad
To prepare the tomato aspic with lemon Jello:
- Empty the packet of lemon-flavored gelatin into a large mixing bowl. Using a mixing bowl with a pour spout will make things easier, but it is not necessary.
- Pour the boiling water into the bowl and stir well to dissolve the gelatin.
- Mix in the tomato sauce, white vinegar, salt, onion juice, hot sauce, and cloves. Drape plastic wrap over the top of the bowl and place the mixture in the fridge to chill until slightly thickened but not entirely set.
- Finely chop the celery and stir it into the bowl with the tomato aspic.
- Pour the tomato aspic into a 4-cup ring mold coated with cooking spray, cover with plastic, and return to the fridge until set.
To prepare the shrimp salad:
- Chop the cooked shrimp, celery, and romaine hearts into small pieces and put them in a mixing bowl.
- Mince the white onion and add to the bowl with the other ingredients.
- Stir in the fresh lemon juice, salt, and smoked paprika.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill.
To assemble the dish:
- Unmold the tomato aspic onto the serving dish. You can line the dish with lettuce leaves if desired.
- Gently stir the mayonnaise into the shrimp salad and spoon it into the hole in the center of the mold.
- Serve immediately.
What can I do if I don't have a Jello mold?
Not everyone has a Jello mold stuffed in the back of the cupboard, but that doesn't mean you can't try this recipe. All you really need is any container that can hold four cups of liquid without leaking. Here are a few suggestions:
- A rectangular baking dish. Spread the shrimp salad on top. Or get real fancy and cut the set tomato aspic horizontally in half and place the shrimp salad between the two halves.
- Create a ring mold. Place a small bowl in the middle of a large one and pour the thickened tomato aspic into the large bowl.
- Use ramekins. Divide the tomato aspic between eight ramekins to form individual molds. Top with the shrimp salad.
What to serve with it?
You can pair this recipe with modern or other retro dishes. Here are a few options:
- Melba toast. These crunchy mini slices of bread make an ideal base for turning tomato aspic with lemon jello and shrimp salad into canapés.
- Cold Crab Dip. Keep with the seafood theme by serving a big bowl of Cold Crab Dip. The flavors of both dishes complement each other.
- Deviled eggs. Whip up a batch of your favorite deviled eggs for a time-appropriate and tasty pairing.
How to store it?
Keep both the tomato aspic and shrimp salad cold and covered in the fridge. You can also store the tomato aspic wrapped in plastic and aluminum foil in the freezer. Defrost the gelatin overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
How long does it last?
For safety reasons, dispose of any food you serve. Unserved tomato aspic will last for three or four days in the fridge, but you need to consume the shrimp salad in a day or two. You can freeze the tomato aspic for up to a month.
The origin of tomato aspic
While today, tomato aspic is an oddity for most people, it was once much more common. Victorians in Europe loved their savory gelatin dishes, but Americans didn't fully embrace the trend until the early nineteen-hundreds.
By the late 1950s and early 1960s, tomato aspic paired with shrimp salad was something you would find at most gatherings, especially ladies' luncheons. This recipe for Tomato Aspic With Shrimp Salad was adapted from the version in Betty Crocker's New Picture Cookbook, 1961.
There are lots of ways for you to modify the basic recipe to suit your taste. Here are a few classics:
- Tomato aspic with olives. Swap out the chopped celery in the gelatin for chopped green olives.
- Replace the tomato sauce in the recipe. For a smoother gelatin consistency, use V8 or tomato juice in place of the tomato sauce.
- Use Bloody Mary mix. Leave out the white vinegar, salt, onion juice, hot sauce, and ground cloves, and replace the tomato sauce with a non-alcoholic Bloody Mary mix.
More Vintage Jello Recipes
- 1 ¼ cups boiling water
- 1 3-ounce package lemon Jello
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon onion juice
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper sauce like Tabasco
- 1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups finely chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped cooked shrimp
- 1 cup finely diced celery
- 1 cup romaine hearts chopped into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely minced white onion
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- Pour boiling water over Jello in a bowl, stirring until dissolved. Stir in tomato sauce, vinegar, salt, onion juice, red pepper sauce, and cloves. Chill until slightly thickened but not set.
- Stir in finely chopped celery. Pour into a 4-cup ring mold. Chill until firm.
- Just before serving. Fill the center of the aspic ring with shrimp salad.
- Mix all ingredients except mayonnaise together in a medium-sized bowl. Chill thoroughly, drain.
- Just before serving stir in ½ cup mayonnaise. Spoon into tomato aspic, and serve.