TOMATO ASPIC WITH BLUE CHEESE DRESSING (for six)
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
4 (14-1/2 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon red pepper sauce
Blue cheese dressing to accompany (recipe follows)
1. Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/3 cup water and set aside to soften.
2. In a large saucepan combine the tomatoes, salt, pepper, cloves and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain over a large bowl, pressing on the solids to remove as much liquid as possible. Reserve 4 cups of the liquid and discard the solids and excess liquid. Add softened gelatin to the hot liquid, and stir to dissolve completely. Add lemon juice and red pepper sauce. Pour into a 4-1/2 cup mold and refrigerate overnight.
3. To serve the aspic, sprinkle with a little water (this helps to position the aspic after unmolding), and invert the mold onto a serving plate. Dampen a kitchen towel with very hot water and wring out. Place towel over mold and hold tightly for 15 seconds. Repeat process. Holding mold firmly in place, jerk sharply to release aspic onto serving plate. If it does not release, repeat the hot towel process. Garnish as desired and serve with blue cheese dressing in a separate dish.
BLUE CHEESE DRESSING
¼ pound blue cheese, like Roquefort
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup minced chives
1. Crumble the blue cheese into a bowl and mash lightly with a fork.
2. Add mayonnaise, sour cream and pepper. Blend well with a fork, breaking up chunks of blue cheese. Stir in chives, cover and refrigerate.
from Mitchell Owens, The New York Times