When learning how to make congealed salads, they might be made with fruit, vegetables, meats or seafood or simply flavored liquids; some are referred to as aspic recipes. They can also be made with several different “jelling agents”; gelatin, agar-agar, pectin, konjac (konjak) and carrageenan. The reasons for choosing one of these could be for various reasons; what is accessible to you, the purpose which you will be using it and the diet which you are on.
Here in the United States, gelatin is the most available to us and does a great job when learning how to make congealed salads and aspics. Some of the “savory” molded salads are referred to as aspics; they have a base of animal broth. Through a process, gelatin is derived from cows, pigs and horses. For people on a vegetarian diet and for those on diets due to religion, this is not acceptable.
The non animal types of “jelling agents” are agar agar, carrageenan, pectin and konjak. I cannot speak about all of these because I have never used some and I am sure they cannot be purchased here. I have purchased agar agar from our local health food store but the grocery stores do not carry it. I liked how it worked in my dessert but I find gelatin more convenient.
Agar and carrageenan are both extracts from seaweed. Konjak (konjac) is a starchy plant mainly used in Japanese cooking. I have never used carrageenan and konjak or have ever seen them anywhere. Pectin is widely available here in the United States. I have used it in the making of jams and jellies for a thickening and helping them to set up. It would not work when learning how to make congealed salads.
Congealed salads can make beautiful presentations if learning how to make salads. These salads are all made with a gelatin of some form, either unflavored or fruit flavored. The mixture is poured into some form of a mold and when it gets cold it sets up.
The ingredients mostly used in them are fruits, vegetables, seafoods or a combination. They can also contain cheeses, creams and nuts. My favorite is a fruit salad recipe but many claim to be partial to the vegetable salad recipes and others prefer seafood recipes like the tuna salad.
NOTE: Although many congealed salads are nice set up in a mold, this one looks very nice in a clear glass casserole dish. It will be served from the dish and not turned out onto a plate.
Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water. After gelatin has dissolved add the ice water. Drain the crushed pineapple and reserve the juice for the topping. Add the crushed pineapple, banana, marshmallows and nuts to gelatin mixture. Stir to blend and set in refrigerator to gel.
For topping combine the sugar, flour, egg and reserved pineapple juice in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until it thickens stirring constantly. After it thickens, add the cream cheese. Mix until creamy and put in refrigerator until it is cold. Fold Cool Whip into the cold topping. When blended pour over the gelatin mixture. And chill for a few hours before serving.
Soften gelatin in the cold water. Add hot water and stir until dissolved. Add salt, paprika and vinegar. Cool. When mixture begins to congeal, add the tuna, celery, carrots and cucumber. Pour into large mold or individual molds. Chill until set. Note: to unmold set bottom of mold in hot water for a minute and then turn up side down on plate.
The following is one of many congealed salads made with seafood.
Soften gelatin in cold water; add hot water and stir until dissolved.
Add salt, vinegar and paprika; cool.
When mixture begins to congeal, add tuna fish, celery and cucumber.
Rinse molds in cold water and shake excess water off.
Pour tuna mixture into molds and refrigerate until set.
Serve on lettuce leaves and garnish with fresh dill.
Dissolve gelatin in water; blend in with cream.
Mix cream cheese until smooth; beat in gelatin cream mixture.
Blend in the shredded cheese and whipped cream; season with salt and paprika.
Pour mixture into mold and refrigerate until set.
Combine dressing ingredients and beat until smooth; serve with set aspic and crackers.