1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened plum tomatoes
1 envelope (about 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup fresh basil or flat-leafed parsley leaves (or a combination of both), washed well, spun dry, and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small hot red chili, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves), or dried hot red pepper flakes to taste
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling over aspics


Lightly oil five 4- to 6-ounce ramekins.

Halve tomatoes and squeeze juice and seeds into a sieve set over a 4-cup measure. In a food processor, blend tomato halves until smooth and force puree through sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on solids. Discard solids and add enough strained tomato puree to juice in measuring cup to measure 2 1/4 cups.

Transfer 1/4 cup tomato mixture to another bowl and sprinkle with gelatin. Let gelatin soften 1 minute. In a small saucepan bring 1/2 cup tomato mixture just to a boil and add to gelatin mixture, stirring to dissolve gelatin. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups tomato mixture and other ingredients (except for additional oil) and divide mixture among ramekins. Chill aspics, covered, until set at least 3 hours and up to 1 day. Run a thin knife around edge of each ramekin and dip in a bowl of hot water for 20 seconds. Invert each ramekin onto a plate and drizzle aspics with additional oil.

Serves 5

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