The other night I made a simple pasta dish of spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, anchovies and finely chopped fresh chili.
It needed something on the side. I did not have leaves of any kind so I made a salad out of some items that just happened to be there. The salad got out of control. It turned into the main event.
Warm salad of roasted pumpkin, fennel, avocado and kidney beans.
I had some leftover oven-roasted pumpkin and a head of fennel that resembled a miniature bagpipes. There were a few other potential ingredients vying for inclusion. How to bring them together? Here's how:
Chop the fennel into manageable pieces. It will fall into an array of j-curves and other fantastic three-dimensional shapes, allowing you to marvel at the geometry of nature while you construct a mega-salad.
Re-heat the cooked pumpkin if you want a ‘warm’ salad; otherwise, add it to the salad straight from the fridge.
Open one can of kidney beans. Drain.
Halve and section one avocado (relatively cheap luxury at 3 for $4 right now). Warm if desired (note: if you missed the 1970s, avocadoes take on a delicious dusky, nutty taste when warmed, especially with the addition of good olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper.)
Sector a couple of vine-ripened tomatoes.
Chop half a red onion into rings.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Crumble some feta* over, add salt and pepper and dress with olive oil, vinegar and the juice of a lime.
(Good fetta is available everywhere but for brands other than the ubiquitous and expensive Dodoni, visit Elli’s deli in Sydney Road or the new deli in Hossack Street, Far North Coburg, behind the Lincoln Mill. We bought a very good crumbly Greek feta at the latter store for half the Dodoni price.)
This salad also works well as leftovers, packaged as next day’s lunch at work, with some crusty bread.
Footnote: the pasta was good too.