Last Saturday night, we had a Christmas party.
I made dinner. A LOT of dinner (those of you who know me well will understand that very rarely do I make a little bit of dinner, so this is hardly news). And, well, a few less people turned up than expected, so there we were on Sunday faced with an entire fridge full of leftovers.
You name it, it was sitting in my fridge or somewhere on my kitchen bench (except the mince pies - they were in the bedroom, under the air conditioner, nice and cool and, I suppose, at the ready for a little midnight snack or a bedtime reading accompaniment). Turkey breast stuffed with pork, apple and sage; an (almost) full leg ham, baked in Guinness and glazed with cardamom and ginger; prawns; scallops; lovely snapper with leeks, carrots and white wine; the best potato and bacon salad; florentine slice; chocolates; tiny chocolate-dipped gelato cones and the aforementioned mince pies.
But what I want to talk about today are the vegetables. Not usually the star of the leftovers parade, the sad-looking mound of charred barbecued vegetables in the fridge could easily have been passed by in favour of the shiny glazed ham or creamy potato salad.
But then, on Sunday afternoon, I saw Jamie Oliver's Family Christmas special. I love Jamie. Yes, he has his detractors and is known to some in the UK as a bit of a crusading pain in the ass who should be put back in his box, but I am and always have been smitten and inspired by his approach. Anyway, Jamie's mentor and friend Gennaro was on screen, mushing up leftover roasted vegetables to smear on bruschetta, and I knew instantly what I was having for my leftovers dinner. It was perfect - there were a few slices of stale ciabatta loaf on the bench, and those unpretty but delicious vegetables, barbecued the day before with olive oil, garlic, rice vinegar and chilli. And to top it off, a spoonful of mayonnaise brightened with herbs and a bit more chilli.
The result was so good that next time I may have to barbecue my veg just to make this dish - it was the perfect Sunday-night-on-the-couch dinner.
Hope everyone had a great Christmas day yesterday, and that your leftovers inspire you to create something special.
Leftover Mixed Vegetable Bruschetta
enough for a light meal for 2
4 slices stale ciabatta loaf
1 clove garlic, halved
the best olive oil you have
2-3 cups mixed leftover vegetables, chopped as roughly or finely as you like and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
You can use whichever combination you have - my bruschetta had Spanish onion, leeks, asparagus, yellow baby squash, zucchini, aubergine and roasted capsicum, and as you can see from the photo, I chopped everything quite finely. And although I have used barbecued/chargrilled vegetables for this, you could also use leftover roasted vegetables, or make it using fresh vegetables instead.
A couple of spoonfuls of good, whole-egg mayonnaise
I added some rice wine vinegar, chopped chilli, sage and parsley to my mayonnaise, but plain would be fine, or you could substitute sour cream.
Parsley to garnish
Toast your bread. When it's done and still hot, rub one side of each slice with the cut garlic clove, then drizzle a bit of olive oil over each slice of bread.
Pile as much of your veg mix as you dare onto each slice of bread, top with a dollop of mayo and scatter some parsley over the top.