Lovely Lowly Leftovers

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Some dishes are better a day later.  A vegetable stew, for example. Or a pork roast.

My father-in-law used to say, “Non buttiamo via niente.” We don’t throw anything away.  I think of him when I make a soup or a rice dish, or when I have sat down to a bowl of ribollita in Florence, a soup that is not really a re-boiled dish, but its origins must have been that–leftover bread, leftover beans, leftover chard and kale. Put them together and what to do get? Something delicious.  And the pleasure of economy.  Waste not, want not.  Non buttiamo via niente.

Today, a few slices of mozzarella, some leftover chopped tomatoes, breadcrumb mix sprinkled over roasted tomatoes.  And a slice of good bread. It all called to mind the tomato/mozzarella sandwich you find in coffee bars virtually anywhere you are in Italy.  Only, like most things if you cook at home, better. Much better.

They are a pain in the neck, but I can’t sing the praises of chopped tomatoes high enough.  Yes, Michigan tomatoes, however they are served, bring us close to God, but in the off season I still want tomatoes.  For chopping my go-to pomodoro in cold months is the campari tomato.

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Here’s the painful part: blanching, peeling, extracting seeds, and chopping. But in ten minutes you have a dish of red gold. Add olive oil and just before serving them a bit of sea salt.  If I don’t use them all in one sitting, they go in the fridge, often forgotten.

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Today I remembered.  Glorious with leftover cauliflower, leftover mozzarella, and from a few leftover roasted tomatoes, some roasted breadcrumbs.  Comes the crunch–not bad crunch; good crunch–of those crumbs with olive oily tomatoes and lovely cheese.

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The crumbs in particular were so good, there came a revelation.  Be it resolved, when I roast tomatoes, I’ll sprinkle extra crumbs on the baking sheet and harvest them for multiple uses over the next few days.  Shown above: a slice of toasted bread, mozzarella, chopped tomato–to make a panino to end all panini.

 

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