Make Ahead

Heirlooms Tomatoes In Shrimp Gelee

October  4, 2022
0 Ratings
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

I finally got around to watching Julie and Julia and was inspired by the aspic scene and also by Merrill's Jell-o foray earlier this year. With those two notions in mind I was looking in my freezer and noticed I had saved enough shrimp shells to make what I call a quick stock, and yes I save shrimp shells. It is strong enough to taste the shrimp but not overpower good tasting tomatoes. Some sort of home made mayonnaise makes a great dipping sauce for this dish. With the back porch fan whirling away above us, the birds chirping, a nice glass of Chenin Blanc and the sun setting it makes for a nice end to a great day. —thirschfeld

What You'll Need
  • For the Shrimp Stock
  • 2 quarts shrimp shells
  • 1 pound tomatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • a handful of thyme sprigs
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cups water
  • For the Tomatoes and Gelee
  • 3 to 4 heirloom tomatoes, good sized ones, bottoms and tops trimmed and cut into thin wedges
  • 1 quart hot shrimp stock, from above recipe
  • 2 packets of powdered geletin
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chives and thyme, roughly chopped
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • a nice home made or good store bought mayonnaise to serve with the dish
  1. Place a medium sized stock pot over high heat. When it is hot add the shrimp shells. Sear them until they start to color and then add the diced tomatoes and onion. Cook until they begin to wilt. (I don't use any oil or butter for this because I don't want to have to degrease the stock. The shrimps shells won't stick and even if they do they will release from the pan once you deglaze with the wine.)
  2. Add the wine, lemon, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns. Let the alcohol burn off and then add the water.
  3. Bring the stock to a boil and then reduce the heat so you have a brisk simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Remember this dish is served cold (pates and other garde manger dishes need to be seasoned heavy but that doesn't mean you want to taste the salt) so you need to go just a little heavy on the salt and pepper.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and strain it through a chinois or a cheese cloth lined strainer. You should have one quart of good flavored stock.
  5. Remove 4 tablespoons of stock to a small bowl and place it in the freezer to get cold.
  6. Once it is cold remove it and sprinkle the gelatin across the top. Let it bloom.
  7. Scrape the bloomed gelatin into a large mixing bowl and then whisk in the hot shrimp stock until the gelatin is dissolved.
  8. Arrange the heirloom tomato wedges nicely in a two quart heat proof serving dish and then gently pour the hot gelatin over the top.
  9. Sprinkle the herbs across the top and then cover the dish with plastic wrap taking care not to let it touch the gelee. Cool for at least 8 hours to overnight. Serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • luvcookbooks
  • WinnieAb
  • dymnyno
  • SallyCan
  • drbabs

19 Reviews

luvcookbooks November 1, 2011
Thanks for this recipe. I was just thinking about buying a cookbook about jellies (the civilized English form of Jell-O) online. Maybe you have saved me from that.
WinnieAb July 30, 2010
So interesting (and so beautiful)!!!!
dymnyno July 30, 2010
Gorgeous as make the tomatoes look like stained glass. This sounds like a perfect and elegant luncheon recipe.
SallyCan July 30, 2010
Looks delightful! Another new twist on an old~fashioned favorite. Definately on my "to make list".
thirschfeld July 30, 2010
Oh thanks SallyCan. I ate it again for breakfast this morning.
drbabs July 30, 2010
Interesting--I save shrimp shells, too! (Which astounds my husband...our freezer is pretty small.)
thirschfeld July 30, 2010
yeah but you can smash them and they take up a small amount of space.
drbabs July 30, 2010
True--it's not the's the "why are there shrimp shells (and chicken spines, but that's another story) in our freezer?"
thirschfeld July 30, 2010
I think I can top that with the three pounds of chicken feet. Never the less spouses don't ever seem to ask why when they have a bowl of wonderful soup in front of them made with said weird parts.
melissav July 30, 2010
I have bags of shells in the freezer too. Just this week my husband again asked "why on earth are there bags of shrimp shells in the freezer?" Glad to know I'm in good company. And now I have a great recipe to use them in! Thanks.
Sagegreen July 30, 2010
My older friends have been encouraging me to explore aspics! This looks great. Love your recipes.
thirschfeld July 30, 2010
Thanks Sagegreen. I think you will like aspics.
Sagegreen July 30, 2010
PS With your amazing photos as well, you should have your own book! Very persuasive. You could even get me to like PBR! And I am from Narragansett.
thirschfeld July 30, 2010
I like all kinds of beers but I think some of the small Amercican brewers sometimes get a bad wrap. Not only do I like PBR but I like, only in bottles, Blatz and Dixie. I say that but I am not sure Blatz is around anymore.
Sagegreen July 30, 2010
Well as a former "beer maid " from Staufen, Germany, where I earned my way through language school there, I do love the German beers. But also love the return of Narragansett which was not around for a while, and of course Sam Adams is great! Locally we have the People's Pint and Mt. Wachusett. My son loves all the microbreweries.They get a great rap here esp. with our 5 college audience.
thirschfeld July 30, 2010
I used to collect beer cans when I was 12 or 13 and had a couple of old Narragansett Ale cans. So many of the small brewers went under but it seems as though people are remembering them and bringing them back.
aargersi July 30, 2010
Narragansett Rhode Island?? Well how about that I hail from Newport! Foodblogga is a Rho-Dylandah too!!!!
thirschfeld July 30, 2010
Garde manger is a kitchen station, or the person, who prepares cold foods. I didn't use a mold because i think it is easier to scoop it with a spoon.
aargersi July 30, 2010
I am so glad you posted this - Nannydeb was talking about her Mom's tomato aspic and it got me hoping for a recipe. What is garde manger ? And do you unmold this onto a platter or scoop it out of the dish?