I was very happy with Amy’s selection of Sun-Dried Tomatoes as our feature ingredient for week three.
I thought it would be a slam-dunk, because I could just post my Sun Dried Tomato Liqueur recipe. After all, I serve it before a meal as a aperitif.
But, then I started thinking about the container of left over sun-dried tomatoes in my freezer. These are the tomatoes I saved after soaking them in the grain alcohol to make the liqueur. I really ought to find a way to use them to create another recipe.
So, I made a high octane version of Fabio Picchi’s famous Tomato Aspic. If you’ve visited Florence, the chances are you’ve dined at Il Cibreo or it's more informal sister Trattoria Cibreo. And if you’ve dined at either, chances are you’ve enjoyed this dish.
My version substitutes the alcohol soaked and pureed sun-dried tomatoes for the fresh plum tomatoes in Fabio’s recipe and requires some other adjustments. I drastically reduced the amount of garlic and salt because alcohol enhances those flavors and they would be too strong, otherwise. But, basically, I did follow the “spirit” of the recipe.
To serve, I decided to pair the liqueur with the aspic on the same small bite plate, so I molded the aspic in one-ounce medicine cups rather than the full 4 ounce size mold. As a counterpoint, I added a fresh baked parmigiano crisp to the plate.
You can find my recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato Liqueur in this previous blog post.
Here’s the recipe for High Octane Tomato Aspic
1 1/2 cups pureed, alcohol soaked sun-dried tomatoes
Juice from 4-5 fresh tomatoes strained (more may be required)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons fresh minced basil
1 clove garlic minced
1 small hot red pepper minced or red pepper flakes to taste (I used a Thai chili.)
1/2 teas. sea salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
In a medium sized glass mixing bowl combine the pureed tomatoes and the fresh tomato juice.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a 3 cup glass measuring cup, pressing as much juice as possible out.
If the resulting liquid does not reach 2 1/4 cups add more fresh tomato juice to the remaining pulp; stir to mix and strain into the measuring cup.
Repeat the process until you have 2 1/4 cups strained pulp/juice combination that has the consistency of tomato soup.
Put 1/4 cup of the liquid in a shallow bowl and sprinkle with the entire package of gelatin. Stir and soak for 3 minutes.
Heat 1/2 cup of the liquid to boiling in a non-reactive pan. Add this to the gelatin mixture and stir to finish dissolving gelatin.
Put this mixture back into the 3 cup measuring cup with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of the original liquid. Add the remaining ingredients and whip vigorously with a fork.
Pour into cups and chill for at least 3 hours. Un-mold into the bowl of a spoon, drizzle with a small amount of EVOO and garnish with a fresh sprig of basil.
Makes about 18-20 servings.