ASPIC is a cold flavorful dish where various ingredients are set into a gelatin made from a meat stock or consommé.
Stock made from cooking meat has a natural gelatin that congeals when cooled. The stock can be clarified with egg whites and flavored.
Common ingredients that are set into aspics are meat pieces, fruits, or vegetables. Aspics are usually served on cold plates to keep the gel from melting.
From cookbooks published in the early 1900s:
HOW TO PREPARE AND USE ASPIC JELLY.
To make aspic for molding or decorating a fish salad, use stock prepared from chicken or veal, or from fish. For chicken, veal or sweetbread salad, use chicken or veal stock, or a light-colored consommé. In an emergency, aspic may be made from the prepared extracts of beef, or from bouillon capsules. Aspic is often tinted delicately to harmonize with a particular color scheme. A light-green aspic has been found quite effective.
To one quart of highly seasoned stock freed from all fat, add the juice of a lemon, a bay leaf, half a cup of wine, and contents of one box of gelatin soaked in a cup of cold water. Beat into the mixture the slightly beaten whites and crushed shells of two eggs. Heat to the boiling-point, stirring constantly, and let boil five minutes. After standing ten minutes, skim off the froth and strain through a cheese-cloth folded double and laid in a colander.
ASPIC FOR GARNISHING
Pour the liquid jelly into a new tin to the depth of half an inch. Dip a napkin in cold water, wring it out and spread it smoothly over the meat-board. Dip the pan in warm water and turn the jelly onto the napkin; stamp in rounds, diamonds or other fanciful shapes. If blocks of greater thickness be required, fill the pan to the required depth with the liquid aspic. When turned from the mold, cut in squares or diamonds using a knife dipped in hot water, wiped dry.
CHICKEN ASPIC SALAD
Cover a four pound fat chicken with boiling water, season with salt and black pepper, and simmer until tender. Remove chicken. Season liquor with a finely chopped small onion, a few cloves, a dash of cayenne and boil down to about one pint and a half. Soak the contents of one box of gelatin in a cup of cold water with one tablespoonful of lemon juice added. Pour into chicken stock and boil a few seconds. Remove from the fire and strain, then clarify with the whites of two eggs. Dice the cold chicken and add half the quantity of celery cut fine. Just before the gelatin begins to set, put a little in the bottom of individual cups, add chicken and celery and finish the top with more gelatin. Put cups near ice until ready to serve. Using a thin bladed warm knife, turn out of cups onto lettuce leaves, and with a paper tube squeeze a little ring of stiff mayonnaise around the base of salad. Put an olive and two maraschino cherries on top of each.
TOMATOES FARCES à l’ASPIC
Scoop out the centers of 6 even-sized ripe tomatoes, remove the skins, and chill thoroughly. Pass the yolks of two hard-boiled eggs through a sieve and add one-half cup lobster meat, chopped fine. Also add one tablespoon of capers, half a cup of mayonnaise and half a cup of chicken aspic, thick and cold, but not set. Stir these in a dish standing in ice water until nearly set, then fill the cavities in the tomatoes with the mixture. Brush over the outside of the tomatoes with half-set aspic. When the aspic is set, repeat twice, then set aside on ice for some time before serving. Serve on a bed of lettuce seasoned with French dressing. Garnish each tomato with a sprig of parsley and the salad-dish with blocks of aspic. Anchovies or any cooked fish may be substituted for the lobster. Serve with mayonnaise.