Salsa Aspic

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I know salsa is not French, but aspic is, and this fresh-tasting, hot-and-cold, spicy salad is the perfect balance for creamy scalloped potatoes. It’ll be the hit of any luncheon or buffet. Get as fancy as you want with the mold—dress it up with parsley or fresh basil—but I usually serve it in bowl with a big spoon. Cream cheese traded out for the goat’s cheese makes the aspic richer and creamier. But I really like the slightly sour, lighter taste of goat’s cheese. SAM

2 (1-ounce) packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup plus 2 ounces cold water, divided
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes with juice
8 ounces hot salsa
juice of 1 lemon (4 tablespoons)
5 ounces log goat’s cheese

Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup water and set aside. In a medium chef’s pan over medium heat, combine the tomatoes, salsa, and lemon juice. Roughly chop the tomatoes with a pastry fork or immersion blender and simmer 15 minutes. In a small saucier over very low heat, melt the goat’s cheese in the remaining 2 ounces water, whisking frequently. Temper the gelatin mixture with 3 tablespoons hot tomato juice and add to the melted goat’s cheese. Combine the goat’s cheese mixture and tomato-salsa and pour into a lightly greased 1 1/2-quart serving dish or mold. Chill in the refrigerator until set. Unmold onto a plate or serve in the dish.
Makes 10 servings.

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