Parisian Salad

From John Sgammato

This is a difficult and stunning salad, one of the high-points of the Twelfthnight Gala.

Ingredients:

Time:

About five hours including waiting, less if you have an able assistant. This requires four different periods of waiting, so you can do other things at the same time.

Equipment:

A tall copper mold

To prepare:

  1. Line a fancy mold with aspic and chill until the aspic sets.

  2. Set the chilled mold in a large bowl full of ice to keep the aspic set.

  3. Carefully decorate the bottom of the inverted mold (this will be the top when it is unmolded) with the black truffles.

  4. Line the sides of the mold with lobster claws.

  5. Gently pour in some melted aspic and brush it over the lobster and truffle.

  6. Chill to set, but do not freeze.

  7. When the decorations are set in place, add a layer of lobster salad, and cover it with a thin layer of the aspic. Let the aspic fill every void.

  8. Make sure the sides of the rest of the mold are coated with aspic and chill again.

  9. Fill the remainder of the mold with vegetable salad, almost to the top.

  10. Pour a final layer of aspic over the whole and let it settle into every void.

  11. Cover with a damp napkin and chill for at least two hours, preferably four.

  12. Unmold onto a clean white napkin on a nice platter. Garnish with watercress and parsley and some lemon peel.
    Unmolding can be a disaster if the salad was ever allowed to freeze to the mold. Richmond saved the day at the '04 Gala with the skillful use of a hairdryer provided by the ever-resourceful Joan Robbins.