arman’s caviar in aspic {ffwd}

Caviar in Aspic

Caviar is always a natural on New Year’s Eve, so I added this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe to our appetizer lineup for the night’s holiday dinner. I’d never had aspic, but I like both caviar and Jello, so as odd as this sounded, this had potential!

First, I made the aspic. I couldn’t find fish bouillon cubes anywhere. I had some clam stock concentrate in the fridge, but it was a bit old and I was reluctant to use it here, where the flavor could ruin a main component if it was off. However, given that I made several quarts of fish stock for last week’s simple Breton fish soup, I substituted fish stock for the water and just proceeded from there. I ended up with a loaf pan of thin but very sturdy aspic (or what I keep thinking of as fish jello). As I mentioned last week, the fish stock itself was thick and quivery, in other words, gelatinous, so I’m not sure whether this added to its firm structure.

To serve, I unmolded the aspic, cut it into squares, and, using a grapefruit spoon, carved out little dimples. I did this “right before serving”, as the recipe instructed, but I think I could have done this step an hour or so before serving and chilled until it was time to serve. I think I expected the aspic to be delicate and possibly to melt as it warmed to warm temperature, but it stayed firm even after sitting out for a while.

Finally, I spooned caviar into the divots and on top of the aspic squares and served.

For caviar, I used a jar of herring roe that we picked up at Ikea. They have quite an array of fishy products in the grocery section after you check out. We also bought some herring and a tube of salty fish roe paste. Yum to the fish paste (herring, not so much). I’m not sure this was the best choice. It was extremely salty and had a bit of an aftertaste. I think tobiko, which has similar tiny eggs, would have been a better choice, though I’m not sure where to find that other than the Japanese market. We also had salmon roe as part of another appetizer, and that caviar was much tastier, but I think the size of the eggs would have offered less contrast to the aspic.

Our guests and I thought it was good, a little strange, but not bad. I’m glad I tried it, but I’m not sure it was worth the effort. There are so many other ways I prefer to eat caviar.

To see what my Dorista friends thought of their caviar in aspic, check out their links here. You can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

Stay tuned for more fishiness next week!


Posted on 9 January 2015, in Fish, French Fridays with Dorie, General and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I agree there are better ways to eat caviar ;) Good for you!

  2. At least you guys liked it a little. I wonder if clam stock is a better call then fish stock… or was it your caviar? Well you did it, check… Happy New Year.

  3. I don’t think I’d make it again either but it was a fun project. I am sure that I would have liked it better with your fishstock. My aspic was sort of flat tasting.

  4. I knew no fishy gelatin would pass as edible in my house, so I decided to go a totally different route! I made mine with Champagne…it was quite tasty! Glad you and your guests enjoyed this one! Happy Friday, Betsy!

  5. I am glad that your guests enjoyed it – perhaps it was your homemade stock. I used store bought stock and this was dire.

  6. I am bracing myself to make this one next week. That’s fun you had guests to make it for – I have a feeling I will be making mine for myself.

  7. Ah, Betsy! I am much in agreement with you on this dish, but I’m glad to hear you all were more okay with it than we were! I bet the gelatin from the fish bones in your stock did make for a sturdier aspic because mine started to disintegrate when I soaked it for a tad too long (5 minutes) in warm water. Looks great and glad it wasn’t inedible for you all (I find it sort of funny that I’ve actually written that last part).

  8. thekitchenlioness

    Betsy, such a pretty presentation – sounds to me like the option of making the aspic with your fish stock was really smart – must have made for a great tasting aspic. And I like the idea of serving this on New Year´s Eve!
    Have a wonderful weekend,

  9. I am happy you enjoyed this! I’m sure I would have scarfed down a few at your party (with a glass of bubbly on the side). I like the idea of the gel cubes – just not savory ones!

    The fish roe paste intrigues me – big fan of anchovy paste here. I’ll make sure to add a tube next time we go to Ikea (instead of just going straight for the cinnamon rolls by the exit).

  10. Wow, I’m genuinely happy to see that someone liked this one. I was starting to feel bad for this poor recipe, which I’m guessing tastes much different coming out of Dorie’s kitchen than coming out of mine. As you point out, so many different factors, like the selection of caviar, can go into changing the flavors. My caviar was delicious, but my aspic was overpoweringly fishy tasting and just killed it.

  11. Oh, Betsy, most of the Doristas had a bad week. Although I was on the road and could only make a simpler recipe, fish stew, I do give kudos to all of you who at least tried this. Do you know that I have never been in an Ikea store? I just goggled Colorado and discovered there is a store near Denver. Road trip next Spring, for sure. Tobiko, never heard the word? Fishy roe paste? Never tried it. You and Howard have interesting food/cuisine experiences. Congratulations on a race well run yesterday. Very proud of you, Betsy.

  12. A one time experience is a good comment. I am enjoying my make-ups since I joined the group so late.

  13. peggygilbey814628432

    Hi Betsy, an interesting dish along with your observations. I’ve never been able to wrap my brain around any sort of aspic, so a fish one would likely not be to my appeal either. I do, as always admire your attempts, open mind, and opinions.

  14. At least you tried it! Fishy jello was a no go for me but I admire everyone who tried it.

  15. The thought of fish jello still makes my head hurt.

    You are a trooper :-)

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