Aspic is savory and traditionally made with some kind of animal stock, like chicken, pork, or beef. Gelatin refers to sweet or non-savory dishes, like a Jell-O salad. I came across this article in Gastro Obscura that goes into this subject in more detail with interesting and very unappetizing graphics.
How America Embraced Aspics with Threatening Auras
– From futuristic test kitchens to Under-the-Sea Salad, midcentury Jell-O took a turn for the weird. –
“The lamb ribs lie in a precisely arranged herringbone pattern, surrounded by nubs of green beans, hard-boiled eggs, and capers, all entombed in a flavorless, wobbling mass. A two-tiered tower harbors swirling clouds of mayonnaise anchored by erect stalks of asparagus. An acid-green, lime-flavored mound holds a can’s worth of tuna speckled with pimento olives. Few foods today feel as anachronistic as the gelatin “salads” (a catch-all term for dishes sweet, savory, and everything in between) of midcentury America.”
This is a big recipe. You can serve half of it hot, and the next day serve the remainder as a salad.
2 broccoli heads (about 1 ½ lbs.)
Olive oil for frying and drizzling
1 red bell pepper cut into thin strips
6 cloves thinly sliced garlic
1 tbsp. anchovy paste or 5 anchovies
1 large lemon cut into 8 thin rounds and 1 tbsp. juice
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
Trim the broccoli into small florets with some stem remaining. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the broccoli. Blanch the broccoli for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
Bring about 5 tbsps. of oil to medium heat in a frying pan and add the peppers. Fry for 10 minutes, add the garlic and anchovy paste. Blend and cook for 5 more minutes. If you’re using whole anchovies, cook until they break down.
Heat a well-oiled grill pan. Toss the blanched broccoli with 3 tbsps. oil. Once the pan is hot, grill the broccoli, turning so there are grill marks on both sides.
Grill the lemon slices for 1 – 2 minutes on each side to get a nice char. Chop the slices and add to a bowl with the parsley, 1 tbsp. lemon juice and 2 tbsps. olive oil.
Place the broccoli in a large bowl and add the pepper mixture and the lemon/parsley mixture and toss.
Arrange in a serving platter and serve hot or if you prefer, chill and serve as a salad.
If you like black pepper, you should try Peposo Beef. It’s a simple recipe but with 3 hours of simmering be sure to give yourself time to make it. This is a basic recipe, and you can make some variations. I think the carrots add a bit of color and texture, but you can leave them out. Three hours of simmering soften the pepper corns and make them very edible but if you want you can add them in a spice bag that you can remove before serving. One thing you shouldn’t change is the wine. This is a Toscano dish and should be made with Chianti.
Heat the oil in a pot on medium heat. Add the crushed garlic cloves and peppercorns and cook for one minute. Add whatever herbs you’re using and then add the meat. Sear until its lightly browned on all sides.
Add the wine, cover, and simmer on a low heat for about 1 hour. If it gets too dry add some water and continue simmering. Add 4 cups hot water, and the carrots if using, and cover the pot. Allow it to simmer slowly for another 2 hours, checking regularly to see that the liquid has not evaporated completely. Add water if necessary to keep the meat covered.
After 2 hours remove the lid, and let the liquid evaporate until the meat is left in a thick brown juice.
Peposo Beef is traditionally served with polenta. I like it with pasta.