Remember JELL-O salads and gelatin desserts made with lemon JELLO and sliced bananas, peaches, or berries? These humble culinary creations were a staple of pot luck suppers, especially in the summertime. Well, back in the mid-20th century, anyway.
Often, these shimmering, quivering dishes were prepared in molds to be served in a variety of shapes, including the popular ring, plated atop a bed of lettuce.
Looks like the jiggle is back. Gelatin dishes are showing up on restaurant menus—albeit in a much fancier form.
As reported by Georgeanne Brennan, writing for the The San Francisco Chronicle, gelatin desserts and salads seemed to be everywhere on a recent trip she made to Paris. They’re called gelées over there.
She describes one gelée, served as part of the first course at L’Abeille in the Shangri-La hotel, as “a perfect cube of green cucumber gelée, translucent and pristine, balanced on a white porcelain spoon.”
At Le Café Moderne, a tomato gelée was part of the first course, served slightly soft and clear in the bottom of a rimmed bowl topped with a sprinkle of fresh peas, slivers of asparagus, artichoke hearts and fennel slices.
Gelée is also finding its way onto U.S. menus, especially in the Bay Area. At Masa’s in San Francisco they serve a ponzu gelée alongside sashimi of Australian hiramasa. At Angele in Napa, peach consommé and gelée are served with foie gras. And at the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco, green tea gelée and white miso gelée have been spotted.
It seems gelatin cuisine has come a long way since my mom’s JELL-O dessert that featured sliced peaches and miniature marshmallows.
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