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What Is Your Most Elegant Yet Inexpensive Homemade Dish?

One of mine has got to be octopus salad:

1 can of ready to eat Goya octopus in olive oil
1 bunch of arugula
1 potato boiled and cubed
1 dozen whole olives (calamata)
1 tomato diced (plum)
1 tbsp capers
chopped parsley
extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice
caper juice
1 large garlic clove minced
salt and pepper

Combine ingredients adding salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Serve on bone white dinner plates with Portuguese roll sliced on the bias and an assertive high acid (inexpensive) white wine. Serves two.

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  1. I guess my first question is, define elegant because it can mean different things to different people. To me elegant means simple yet sophisticated all at the same time.

    Octopus salad definately sounds elegant.

    For me: Butternut soup with a tiny bit of cummin and fresh lime at the discretion of the diner. Actually many soups hit the elegant mark...a good roasted tomato soup or lobster bisque can slay at the dinner table.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ML8000

      elegant AND inexpensive. Another example is a chicken loaf topped with dijon mustard and cranberry chutney served with mixed green salad. This gets really cheap when you have leftover chicken or turkey:

      ground cooked chicken or turkey
      1 egg
      milk (warm)
      carrots, celery, onions (slightly sauteed)
      whole oats
      sour cream

      Combine and bake for 45 min.

      1. re: Chinon00

        ??? Okay, lobster isN'T inexpensive...although leftover lobster can be. Any way, butternut squash tomatoes are inexpensive.

    2. Deviled eggs
      Steamed artichokes with Hollandaise
      Shrimp cocktail

      1. Oh there is that pork trotter recipe from the Buchon cookbook> It takes several days to prepare. Damned good stuff!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Candy

          Since when is "several days to prepare" simple?

          1. re: ajs228

            I don't know the recipe but it OP said elegant and inexpensive. Trotters aren't too pricey..

            1. re: ajs228

              I don't recall seeing simple in the post title. Elegant and Inexpensive yes. Served up with a sauce Gribiche it fits both criteria.

              http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y75/...

          2. Candy, I been reading a lot of your post and have learned a lot from you. I just gotta know- where were you raised and where do you live now? The sociologist in me is dying to know.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Spencer

              My e-mail is on my profile. Contact me directly and I'll fill you in. It will be off topic.

            2. Meringue is underrated in the United States. Three egg whites, a cup of sugar, and ten minutes standing there with the electric beater and you've got meringues Chantilly or aux fraises or au chocolat or whatever. Or you can add chopped walnuts then bake the meringue in sheets and put the sheets together with whipped cream to make a Dacquoise. Or just make kisses and serve them with ice cream. The expense almost doesn't exist and these desserts are always showy and good.