I’m sure this has happened to you: staring into the depths of your fridge one afternoon, you start to notice leftover tidbits hiding in every corner. All manner of fruit, vegetable, cheese and nut in minute quantities, long overlooked, and frankly, a little sad. When this happens, I know it’s time to throw everything—everything but the kitchen sink—into a bowl, and call it lunch.
At the moment this means a half bag of baby potatoes starting to grow eyelets, and a few handfuls of arugula beginning to wither in the crisper. It means the few remaining morsels of cheese I bought for another purpose, and then abandoned in the fridge. It is the tablespoon or so of pine nuts I toasted too many of, for a soup I also made too much of. But alas, you cannot add soup to a salad….
For a touch of freshness, I am adding a perfectly new shallot, some supremely crisp pear slices and a few spicy radishes to my salad. I also thought I’d try out a new variation of vinaigrette, which I’m calling Honey-Chili vinaigrette.
When making your own kitchen sink salad, keep in mind that balance of flavor and contrast is the name of the game. In this case, the arugula provides bitterness, while the honey is sweet. The interior softness of the potato plays off the crunchiness of the pear slices. The cheese adds salt, while the lemon juice adds acidity. Variety helps keep the salad interesting to eat.
- about 20 baby potatoes
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
- 1 spoonful Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- the juice of ½ a lemon
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ a pear, cored and thinly sliced
- a few handfuls of arugula
- 6-8 radishes, sliced crosswise
- 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon aged Gruyere cheese
- 1 tablespoon white cheddar cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
2. Wash the potatoes. Cut away any eyes (the little sprouts that appear on aging potatoes). Cut each potato in half. On a foil-lined baking sheet, toss the potatoes with the canola oil, as well as a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast them for about 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and allow the potatoes to cool for a while.
3. Mince the shallot. Then, in a large bowl, mix the vinaigrette: add the mustard, the shallot, a pinch of salt, the honey and the cayenne. Add the lemon juice. Give everything a little stir, and then add the oil. Whisk until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
4. Slice the pear and radish, and grate the cheese.
5. To the vinaigrette bowl, add the arugula, the pear, the radishes, the pine nuts, the cheese and the potatoes. Toss gently until the vinaigrette is evenly covering everything. Serve immediately.