Cold cooked foods are handsome served with an aspic glaze. The aspic coating keeps the food moist, particularly desirable for buffet service.
Small Glazed Aspices. Here is a list of small foods suitable for glazing: poached whole trout and fish steaks or fillets (salmon and sole); cooked prawns, crab legs, or lobster slices; hard-cooked egg halves or deviled eggs; poached chicken breasts; and open-faced sandwiches.
Chill the cooked foods; pat dry if necessary. Arrange pieces on a rack over a tray to catch drips. Spoon over aspic stock (recipe follows); completely cover surface. (Stir aspic stock frequently to keep smooth.) Chill until set. Glaze should be Vie-inch thick. If you like, repeat glazing.
Decorate as desired (instructions follow); chill until set. Glaze again and chill until set. Trim edges neatly and arrange on platter. Keep cold.
Large Glazed Aspics. Suitable foods include: poached salmon; poached chicken or turkey; cold meat loaves; boiled tongue, ham, or roast beef tenderloin.
Fill serving platter with a thin layer of aspic stock (recipe follows); chill until set. Place chilled, cooked food to be glazed on rack over tray (as for small aspics) and mask evenly with aspic stock; chill until set.
Position coated food on aspic-lined tray. Decorate (instructions follow); chill until set. Spoon aspic stock over food; chill once more until set.
Quick Aspic Stock. Soften 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin in 1/2 cup canned regular-strength chicken broth, condensed beef bouillon, or condensed consomme (fat removed). Simmer 1/2 cup dry white or dry red wine and 1/4 cup Madeira or Sherry until reduced by one-half. Remove from heat; blend in 3 more cups broth and the softened gelatin.
To clarify, beat 2 egg whites until foamy, then, beat into stock. Heat, stirring continuously, until mixture comes to a boil. Stop stirring; cook until egg rises to top. Turn off heat and let stand
5 minutes. Bring to a boil twice more, at 5-minute intervals. (Liquid should be clear below egg.)
Line a colander with a cotton cloth dampened in hot water. Pour liquid through. If necessary, pour through the filter again. Makes 1 quart.
Hints on Glazing. Keep everything cold involved in their preparation (foods, molds, racks, spoons), right up until serving time.
The aspic stock must have the correct consistency cool and syrupy, yet smooth and liquid, and thick enough to glaze evenly. The warm, slightly beaten white of an egg that is no longer fresh has approximately the same consistency.
To get the proper consistency quickly, set the bowl of aspic stock in crushed ice and stir until it is ready to use.
If the aspic gets too firm or lumpy, just melt over hot water again and make a fresh start.
Decorating Aspics. Almost any food that can be thinly sliced and has color can be used for decorating: white or yolk of hard-cooked egg (or slices of whole egg), olives, pimiento, radishes (both white and red parts), truffles, green pepper, or chive spears.
Cut decorations in fancy or geometric shapes, dip in aspic stock, and arrange on aspic-glazed foods. Chill.