I come up with my best recipe ideas when I have a refrigerator full of leftovers, scraps and odds and ends. It's also the best way to keep my refrigerator tidy. Last week I tested some great recipes from our senior associate editor, Nick Fauchald, for our August Fast column. One of the recipes was a clever sandwich made with kielbasa and sauerkraut on pretzel rolls.
The next day I had leftover kielbasa and sauerkraut, and I wanted to think of a way to use them up that was a little more interesting than just putting them on a hot dog bun (though that's still one of the most satisfying ways to eat them). So I cubed up and toasted a loaf of heavily seeded rye bread, then tossed it with browned slices of the leftover kielbasa, sautéed onions and warm kraut, then doused them all in a tangy mustard vinaigrette. The recipe will eventually go up on the Web site, but in the meantime, here it is. You don't have to wait to make this until you have leftovers-it's worth buying the ingredients. If you want to tidy up your refrigerator or pantry, you can concoct your own great bread salad out of anything you have on hand. It's a perfect way to use up leftovers. With a good loaf of bread (like a baguette, focaccia or crusty ciabatta), fresh or day old, and some kind of moistener (vinaigrette, pesto or tapenade), you can add anything you have lying around (veggies, cooked meats or cheeses).
If you aren't feeling very creative here are a few other great ideas from F&W.
Sauerkraut-and-Sausage Bread Salad
Total: 25 min
One 1-pound loaf of rye bread with caraway seeds, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons coarse Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
10 ounces kielbasa, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1 1/4 cup sauerkraut, drained well
Freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the bread cubes with 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Toast for 15 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the mustard with the vinegar and the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil.
3. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the kielbasa and cook until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the sauerkraut and cook for 1 minute, until warm. Scrape the kielbasa mixture into the bowl with the bread cubes. Pour the dressing on top and toss well to coat. Season with pepper and serve.