Why oh why you ask?
Why bring back that nightmare of the 50’s scarier than zombies and Godzilla? The jiggly, gelatinous horrors with hot dog / pretzel combos and worse. Maybe it is just me, but I’m giggling a bit at the olive Jell-o recipe from the Jell-o museum
Bring it back because …
1.They CAN be pretty
2. Summer is coming and they can be cooling
3. They can be good for a diet
4. They can be economical and a good way to use up bits of things
5. Hasn’t everything else been retro-ed? It is time.
This week’s Chow Digest mention from the General topics board got me thinking about molded salads and maybe they could be good enough to eat … even enjoy
The Mystery of the Molded Salad...
First of all … put down that box of Jell-o and step away.
You can make your own nutritious gelatin using fruit juice and Knox gelatin
Searching around the web, I didn’t find much but a few looked good. This article is about updating the molded salad with recipes for a Bellini salad, three pepper salad, citrus avocado ring, and tea and ginger salad with raspberries.
In addition to some really good tips for working with molded salads, it does indicate a trend to updated molded salads ... though that was in 2004 ... so maybe not
"Of course, today's gelatin salads aren't carbon copies of our grandmoms', just as today's retro cocktails have their own contemporary signatures.
Instead of big centerpiece molds, individual molded salads – especially served in striking cocktail glasses or wine glasses – impart a more sophisticated note.
Wine, champagne and liquors add an adult element, and there's an ever-growing variety of juice drinks, flavored teas and fruit-flavored sparkling waters to spark the imaginations of creative cooks. "
I’ve also discovered aspics … which seemed icky to me … can be tasty … and the molds can be so pretty. I bought some Jambon Persille (Ham in Parsley Aspic) because it was so beautiful … and I trusted the French shop … and it was looks 10, taste 10.
This blog has a lovely photo of Oeuf en Gelée
The blogger writes “I am well aware that this may not seem like such a compelling idea, and may even put off more than one aspic-shy eater. I myself turned my nose up at these … But that was before I actually tasted them … you get to cut through the whole thing with your fork, rupturing the yolk and forming a golden puddle that just begs to be dabbed with a piece of fresh baguette. And then, as you eat your way through the egg, each bite reveals clean and fresh flavors, the glistening smoothness of the aspic responding marvellously well to the rich velvet of the yolk”
Aspics seem complicated. However, here’s something that sounds tasty andy easy
Slow-Baked Pears, Sauternes Aspic
My own molded salad contribution would be for Fourth of July using white grape juice and champagne for a clear mold with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and maybe a few slices of star fruit … and maybe a few sprinkles of edible gold for sparkle.
So how about some ideas for giving the molded salad a makeover so they taste as good as they look.