This recipe must be one that is most-dreaded by Doristas of all of the offerings in Around My French Table. Upon reading the description, I had to go out and find examples of Arman’s work, since it was supposed to be the inspiration of the dish for a dinner party. Based on Dorie’s description, this should be reminiscent of his work. And some of his work is familiar. It was interesting to see the other works he’s produced as well – particularly the artfully displayed (…) drawer of old flatware. To be truthful, I did enjoy looking at the images, but couldn’t for the life of me quite get the connection. But I’m sure it’s just my provincial mind.
The dish is essentially cubes of seafood jelly with a divot in the top to hold some caviar. The jelled mixture is placed in a square pan, then cut into smaller squares… It seemed easy. I thought I’d use my new seafood stock, and some simple caviar.
Now, I used to prepare a fair number of caviar presentations, but to be honest, I wasn’t the real caviar-lover in the bunch. I thought about what the typical accompaniments might be, and did a little research. Hard boiled eggs, sour cream, onion… I decided to make a couple of deviled eggs to encase in the aspic, and also a little chopped egg mixed with sour cream. I thought they would make for a fun presentation, and also make the dish a bit rounder, and what I’d typically be wanting to serve. Plus it would allow me to use some of my fancy molds!
Some of these were actually my Grandmother’s, from the time when a dinner party required an individual molded salad for everyone!
I made the aspic. I was not initially thrilled with the flavor – the “1/2 cube for 2 c water” sounded very bland. I did add a bit of seasonings, but was afraid to add too much. I filled the molds with a bit of the aspic and chilled them, then added their filings, and covered with more aspic. The fun thing is all of this comes together quickly.
I unmolded the jellies, then placed them on their plate. I did rinse my caviar as well (to rid it of a bit of salt, plus it’s less likely to “bleed” black on the food it’s placed on).
They actually look pretty cute! And they are darling with the dainty black caviar on top, and served with champagne in a coupe – since this all felt so retro.
At the end, this was more fun to think about and make than it was to eat. As I’ve said, while I don’t have a problem with caviar per se, it’s not really my thing. And I wished that the aspic itself had more flavor. I should have trusted that it wasn’t highly flavored enough, because it was totally overwhelmed by the caviar.
But. Still. Fun. I think it will be interesting to see what any of our other Doristas did with this recipe, if they tried it (and I know for a fact, some did).