It is true that I drink a cup of black tea every morning, go to bed at 9:30 every night, and keep the same husband year after year. But I still consider myself a woman of infinite variety. I speak, of course, of my salads. Behold:
I have never made this salad before and I may never make it again. I did not purchase a single new item for it, but rather, I was the beneficiary of an auspicious confluence of leftovers, what I refer to as a fridge eclipse. I was deeply pleased by the aesthetic and gustatory rightness of this, especially since the output of my kitchen has been drab, of late.
You might ask: why roasted potatoes? Because they were there. Why celery (I concede that this may have been the least necessary of the ingredients but nevertheless)? Because it was there. To all your inquiries I reply: because it was there. Most, maybe any, of the ingredients (arugula, tomatoes, potatoes, edamame, garbanzos, black beans, pepitas, celery, avocado, scallions, Toscana cheese, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, pepper, salt) could be omitted or substituted…and yet, I cannot imagine this salad without any one of them. I would hesitate to add more elements to it as it seemed to hover on – though not topple over! – the verge of one-ingredient-too-many. Some chopped up hearts of palm? Well…perhaps.
A word of caution: if you make this and add mushrooms to it PLEASE, I implore you, don’t tell me about it. Mushrooms are for a different fridge eclipse, one involving udon noodles and a mangy but stalwart hunk of ginger. Hybridized eclipses are another matter entirely and may result in my good friend Colleen’s beets and lavender incident. As Nigella Lawson (idol alert!) says, “The impulse to be interesting is perhaps the most destructive in cooking.”
P.S. Note the raindrops around the plate – the inevitable result of a spontaneous outdoor picnic, at least around here.