It’s that time of year again!
The fridge is groaning from the load of everything you’ve shoved in there like an advanced level of tetris – including all the tiny bits of leftovers from the party the night before that you fear are going to slowly go bad before you figure out what to do with them. Your kitchen looks like a disaster zone after same party, and you are groaning because you’ve been running around in circles preparing food, then entertaining people, and then trying to clean up after the aforementioned (and possibly giving up after one dishwasher-load).
Yep. We’ve all been there.
And the last thing you want to do after you have done all of the above, is to cook something complicated from scratch. Or, at least that’s the last thing I want to do. What I want to do, is, frankly, is lie down on the sofa, eat something fresh and something comforting, and hope that Disney was right, and if I just hum some stuff off-tune, my forks and dirty cutting boards will march into the dishwasher and/or sink and scrub themselves.
Leaving drug-induced sentient kitchenware hallucinations aside, I have found that party leftovers can and do make the easiest of comfort foods, provided that you have something to use as a vehicle. What I mean is – what is usually left over after a party? Well, I am not entirely sure about you, actually, but after my parties, the refrigerator usually contains a selection which looks sort of like this: a quarter-pack of dried ham and/or sliced cured salami of some sort, a large assortment of tiny bits of expensive cheese, half a loaf of random bread, and some fruit which was supposed to have been put on a fruit platter, and didn’t make it.
So what do you do with 2 tablespoons of one cheese and 3 slices of the other, and a few half-dried-out bits of Prosciutto di Parma? You take that hunk of tough bread, slice it as thin as it’ll go, butter the buggers, and slap the cheeses and meat onto it in some semblance of order. You know, so they don’t clash too much.
This here isn’t a recipe, because there just isn’t one. You preheat the oven to about 225°C, search the fridge, hope there is any butter (in a pinch, a drizzle of olive oil would do if the bread is too tough to go without), and put these together. Then, you season them according to your taste. In my case, the goat’s cheese bits got a drip of honey, and the slices of random cheese on parma ham got black pepper. I didn’t even have any runny honey, so I improvised with a spoon warmed in a cup of tea, set honey and my finger to push it off the spoon. Whatever works.
Then, you put the whole thing into a preheated oven and give it a few minutes – and I really mean “few”, not “many”. As soon as the cheese is melted and bubbly, or in case of goat’s cheese, browned at edges and puffing up, out it comes.
Slice up that fruit which went forgotten when canapes were getting munched and booze was flowing, set it on the side of a platter, stick a napkin on the platter, and transfer these onto the napkin. I used a pair of tongs, because sandwiches, when they come out of the oven, will be hot (personal experience here!).
Drag to your sofa/laptop setup, add a humongous mug of coffee, and look outside at the pitch-dark sky of 3:30 in the afternoon. Feel good about the streamlined contents of your fridge. Keep hoping the dishes will scrub themselves. Or, if that fails, after being refreshed from having had something to eat and a bucket of coffee, attack them with a sponge.
Works every time!