Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Patron Saint of Leftovers

The Irish, and particularly Dubliners have a tendency to drop the 'Saint' from the front of phrases. Saint Stephen's Green becomes 'Stephen's Green', Saint James' Hospital merely 'James-es' and St Patrick's Day, colloquially 'Patrick's Day'. Perhaps its omission is an indication of a backlash against the persuasive influence of certain religious traditions in Irish life, more likely it that the prevalence of the prefix renders its inclusion in the name of any public amenity or feast day spoken self-evident! Thus the day after Christmas, traditionally in Ireland known as St Stephen's Day is predictably shortened to 'Stephen's Day'.  Given the enthusiasm for debauching names in this way, the vitriol I encounter though when using the phrase 'Boxing Day' is unfathomable. It is somewhat appropriate though, as I am constantly reminded, that the day after Christmas is a 'feast day' being that for me, it surpasses Christmas Day itself as my favourite food day of the year. All of the delicious food of the day before's meal and no need for anyone to spend hours in the kitchen! It has always been a day for lazing, watching the 'Boxing Day Test' while picking at ham and turkey, and eating the contents of selection boxes in one sitting. Living in Ireland has relieved me of the need to pretend to enjoy cricket, making Boxing Day even more enjoyable!

This year I was flying out to Istanbul three days after Christmas so the urgency to use up all the food in the fridge was greater than ever. I made this salad on Boxing evening, the ingredients are fairly fluid though, so use whatever you have left over. Parsnips or pan fried sliced potato would be a great addition.

A wedge of cooked ham, diced.
Radicchio, iceburg, spinach leaves, or any greens you have in the fridge.
Cooked and cooled butternut pumpkin, sliced.
Cooked and cooled peas (runner beans would work too!)
50 grams fetta, crumbled.
Tablespoon flaked almonds.

For the dressing
Tablespoon olive oil.
Teaspoon Balsalmic Vinegar
Half Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
Two large pinches of dukkah, if you don't have any dukkah, one pinch salt and some tumeric and sesame seeds would be a fine substitute.

Combine all dressing ingredients in a clean jar with a lid and give a good shake.
Combine all salad ingredients except for the ham in a large bowl and pour over the dressing, reserving a small amount, tossing to coat all ingredients. 
Heat a heavy bottomed pan on the hob and add the ham. It should brown nicely after two minutes each side without the addition of oil. Sprinkle over salad and pour over the reserved dressing.
Serve sprinkled with a few more almonds and loads of mince pies to follow.


Séan Billings said...

It's Stephenses day, roi?

I have to say my use for leftovers is a lot less healthy but it does make me popular with the rest of my family. That delicious home cooked ham and leftover roasters make for great brunch omelets, especially if you have a few mushrooms and a bit of Parmesan.

Catherine said...

Yum! It's only a memory now but a very nice one. Like the napkin too.
Happy New Year!

PS Didn't know you did recipes - will be back for more.

Imen McDonnell said...

Looks delicious! Lovely blog you have.
Imen x

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