Give your imagination free rein! You haven’t been shopping and every recipe that comes to mind calls for ingredients you haven’t got. There are some leftovers in the fridge, some preserves in the cupboard and, of course, some basics like eggs, potatoes, onions and fruit. That’s it… but don’t worry: the solution’s at hand. All that’s missing is the dressing.
Throwing together a salad with whatever you can find in the kitchen is one of the simplest and most creative tasks you can be faced with. It’s hard to mess it up: all you have to do is mix the ingredients together with a bit of colour and flair, add the vinaigrette and you’re good to go.
For example, if you’ve got some leftover pasta, simply add a tin of tuna, boiled egg, sweetcorn, olives and fresh tomatoes. If you’ve got some leftover roast chicken or steak that’s headed for the bin, you’ve got the basics for a chicken salad, which you can accompany with a bed of lettuce, some of that cheese at the back of the fridge and some apple, pineapple or raisins. Always bear fresh fruit and nuts in mind: they’re the perfect allies for these kinds of improvised dishes, and they’ll add surprising textures and flavours.
Think about these foodstuffs you’ve always got to hand: chopped onion, peppers and tomato will go perfectly with some lentils or other pulses. And some boiled eggs and potatoes are a great base for adding tomato, onion, vegetables (such as some well-strained preserved green beans), pickled mussels, smoked salmon or even sausages.
As you know, less is more, and this is just as true for salads. Don’t get carried away. The best idea is to leave some creative space for the dressing. Make a simple vinaigrette with a good extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar, plus a bit of mustard, for example. Or use one of the many readymade dressings, sauces or balsamic glazes on the market.