Creative use of leftovers is something I haven’t completely mastered. I’m afraid I have a habit of letting things languish in the refrigerator until … well, never mind. I’m working on this, and today’s case study certainly provides motivation for honing my skills in transforming the remains of one meal into something fresh and inventive for another.
Thurday night I prepared an all-grilled meal: chicken breasts and spiced corn on the cob with a couple of humble baking potatoes on a corner of the barbecue for good measure. It was a tasty meal, but what’s more interesting is what I did with the leftovers today.
Without deliberate planning ahead, these ingredients somehow morphed into a really delicious potato salad. We were quite hungry at lunchtime and I had vague thoughts about chicken atop a lettuce salad. But when I opened the fridge and saw the leftover corn and potato sitting right there near the chicken, inspiration struck. Those ingredients formed the basis of a potato salad, and with some local beefsteak tomatoes on the side, we had a memorable meal that came together quickly and easily.
This is the kind of recipe that likely will never be the same twice. It all depends on what and how much is left over. Here’s how I threw today’s salad together, which was enough for a light lunch for three, to serve as a guideline the next time you have leftovers.
Potato, Corn and Chicken Salad
Stand a cold cob of grilled corn in a large bowl and slice off the kernels. Cut a pre-baked and chilled baking potato into half inch cubes. Skin and debone two cold grilled chicken breasts and cube. Prepare a vinaigrette of 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, about 1/2 tbsp whole grain mustard, freshly ground pepper to taste and about 1/2 tsp salt. Slice the white and green parts of three scallions and add to the bowl of dressing, letting the scallions and vinaigrette happily intermingle while you run out to the herb garden and get a handful or so of whatever looks good. Today I chopped up a few sprigs of thyme, a small bunch of basil and flat-leaf parsley. Add to the salad along with the scallion-vinaigrette mixture and stir until well incorporated. Cover the bowl and set in the fridge for up to thirty minutes to let the flavours develop, if you have time.
We really enjoyed this hearty and satisfying cold salad, always welcome in this hot and humid weather. The Culinary Enthusiast had seconds, a good sign indeed! The next time I grill I’ll be sure to make extras to have on hand, to reincarnate into another quick meal.