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. When making your own kitchen sink salad, keep in mind that balance of flavor and contrast is the name of the game. Variety helps keep the salad interesting to eat. —Cristina Sciarra
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.
Preheat the oven to 425F.
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.
Slice the pear and radish, and grate the cheese.
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.
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at theroamingkitchen.com.