On a recent morning, I woke up in the worst way, and by that I mean hungry as a bear yet indecisive about what to eat.
I opened the refrigerator to look for inspiration. Eggs. Milk. Plastic tubs filled with “what was that?” Then I came across a couple of smoked jalapenos from the fajitas I’d made a few days earlier. There was a charred avocado half, intended for guacamole but set aside when I changed the menu. In a small bowl were some scorched teardrop tomatoes left over from skewers of grilled Caprese salad appetizers.
A cartoon light bulb lit up above my head.
I sliced the smoky pepper, chopped the blackened avocado and cut up the grilled tomatoes. I poured a whisked mixture of eggs and milk into a pan, distributed the vegetables in it and cooked it on the stove top briefly before giving the thing a turn under the broiler. Owing to its smoky fragrance, I dubbed the creation Frittata Fume. With its greens and reds against the puffed, browned egg canvas, it looked like it could be on a magazine cover. One bite, and the morning turned around.
In the modern lexicon, a problem is not a problem. It is an opportunity. And so it is with grilled and smoked leftovers. You can eat the same thing over and over again: grilled chicken breasts, say. Or you can repurpose them into a taco, a soup or — my favorite — a chicken salad sandwich.
It seems that every time I grill, I have leftovers. I don’t consider myself an unimaginative guy, but for years it didn’t occur to me to reinvent those leftovers into something other than what they were when they came off the fire. About the only creativity I brought was turning sliced brisket sandwiches into chopped brisket sandwiches. Alas, even that was not my idea. I got it from scores of pitmen, who served it up at their barbecue joints.