Reincarnating Dinner: The Art and Etiquette of Leftovers

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

You're staring into the refrigerator, wondering what to serve for dinner, and you see it: leftover meatloaf. Can you proudly offer your guests meatloaf sandwiches? Or do you need to keep your leftovers to yourself, like a dark secret? To discuss the etiquette of leftovers, we are joined by Henry Alford, who has an article in today’s New York Times on the kooky behavior leftovers inspire. And Melissa Clark, our friend and food writer for The New York Times, is here to provide some practical options for reincarnating dinner.

For more, read Henry Alford's article, The Question of Leftovers, Ever Fresh, in The New York Times.


Leftover rice or risotto? Try Arancini di Riso

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
2 cups leftover cooked rice or risotto
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups dried Italian-style bread crumbs
2 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

• Pour enough oil in a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F.

• Stir the eggs, risotto or rice, Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs in a large bowl to combine.

• Place the remaining breadcrumbs into a medium bowl.

• Using about 2 tablespoons of the rice mixture for each ball, form 2-inch-diameter balls.

• Insert 1 cube of mozzarella into the center of each ball. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs to coat.

• Working in batches, add the rice balls to the hot oil and cook until brown and heated through, turning them as necessary, approximately 4 minutes.

• Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rice balls to paper towels to drain. Season with salt. Let rest 2 minutes. Serve hot.

If you have leftover salmon try Red Flannel Salmon Hash

8 ounces leftover salmon

1 medium-size red beet, roasted or boiled until tender, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 1/2 cups boiled potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 small onion finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil



Heat butter in a heavy pan (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. When melted add olive oil, then onions. Cook onions until soft, about 8 minutes. Add potatoes, garlic, and beet and big pinch of salt and pepper. Break up the salmon into large chunks and add to pan. Stir well and press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook until a nice brown crust develops on the bottom. Stir well, press down firmly into the pan and allow mixture to form a crust again. Season with salt and pepper. Top with poached eggs for an easy supper.


Henry Alford and Melissa Clark

Hosted by:

Todd Zwillich


Melissa Locker

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