As I said last week, the arrival of spring is possibly the most exciting time of the year. People coming out of their houses scantily clad, fruit coming back in season, animals copulating furiously everywhere. I love spring. In Scotland you always had to wait until May or June for spring to come, but here in Italy the 21st of March actually brings you sun, not just false promises.
Spring is a time of firsts: first sunburn of the year, first insect bites of the year, first time of the year you wake up with your eyes swollen shut because you forgot what a bitch hay fever can be… First bare-legs day of the year, first time going to work without a jacket, first outside drinks… And of course, the first barbecue of the year!
We had ours last weekend and it was a grand success. Lobster-red shoulders galore. Sore muscles because after a full season of inertia, playing frisbee for 20 minutes feels like top-sport. Asking your barbecue neighbours in the park for a bottle opener 3 times an hour because you forgot yours. I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I actually love love love all these things. They’re signs that life is going to be mostly outside again, in the sun, in the heat, in the park.
Of course as is traditional when barbecuing, we bought waaaay too much food. Because it had been out of the fridge all day, we couldn’t just freeze it, and instead it had to be cooked first. That is why on Sunday evening I was standing in my kitchen, half wasted, skin glowing red, insect bites itching, roasting a kilo of chicken and frying up another half kilo of sausages. The sausages were fried with broccoli, stuffed in a tupperware, and classified as lunch for the next day. The chicken was thrown in the oven just like that, cooled down overnight and stuffed in the freezer the next morning, except we didn’t have enough space in the freezer, so I was left with two chunks of chicken that needed to be eaten soon. No problem.
You can only eat so much meat and carbs (barbecues tend to be bread-heavy) – we want fibre. What to do? I figured I’d just use some of the chicken for a salad. Kind of like a Caesar salad, except in the meantime I’ve done some research and I’ve discovered that a Caesar salad isn’t meant to contain chicken at all. So just like a chicken salad, then. Chicken salad it is.
For this thing here you will need, if you’re with a friend:
- Some lettuce of your choice
- 12 small tomatoes (like, cherry tomatoes or something)
- 2 stalks of celery
- a piece of chicken that you have left from the barbecue, roasted in the oven
- 2 eggs
- some parmesan
- some bread to make croutons
- some olive oil
Boil the eggs. Wash all your vegetables, cut your lettuce into strips, quarter your tomatoes and thinly slice your celery. Put them in a bowl. Grab your chicken and tear it apart into more or less bite-sized chunks. Add them to the vegetables. Grab a slice of bread and slowly roast it in a frying pan without oil, turning occasionally. Take a knife to it and cut it up into crouton-sized bits. Add them to the salad. Now add some parmesan (thin slices, use a cheese-slicer if you have one). Top with olive oil and you’re all set to enjoy a responsible, low-carb, high-fibre, leftover-based lunch.