As I begrudgingly start to becoming a “real” adult, I am discovering that things that I once considered awful are starting to grow on me… a little bit. Take for instance salad. Growing up, I always had boring old side salad with every meal. My options were usually blue cheese, ranch, or caesar with croutons. I would eat the croutons.
When I first started cooking, I just pretended I didn’t need a salad because it wasn’t adding anything to my meal. Boy, how the tides have changed. Now I make a salad every night and it is ALWAYS different.
This little beauty is an Avocado + Grapefruit + Orange Salad. This fresh citrus and avocado salad is a HUGE crowd pleaser and is oh so beautiful on the table. The most important thing when making a salad is choosing the freshest ingredients. There isn’t much to a salad besides the ingredients and the dressing, so the flavors of the ingredients can make or break you.
I only purchase my produce from farmers markets. There are so many positives to shopping at farmers markets instead of your local grocery store. You know everything is ripe and picked at the peak of freshness, you are supporting your local community, farmers and vendors and it is significantly cheaper EVERY time. The cheap factor really makes me happy. The perfect example is buying herbs. You know every time you go to the grocery store and you buy the packet of fresh herbs for $3!?! Well at the farmers market, you get a bunch 3 times as large as those crappy packs for a dollar. Give it a shot, you will be astounded at the deliciousness that the grocery stores can’t give you.
The grapefruit and oranges were so beautiful and fragrant, I knew they would be delicious. I could literally smell them from across the room. When choosing ripe fruit, SMELL IT. The more fragrant the fruit, the tastier it will be. Also try to avoid and visible bruising.For avocados, you don’t want it to be soft but rather slightly hard. If soft, it will just turn to mush in the salad and when you take a bit… yuck. Don’t squeeze it hard because it will bruise and spoil quickly. Every time I have been to the grocery store, the avocados are rock hard. They are picked before they are ripe and will never reach their full potential. I will never buy an avocado from the grocery store again; I have been burned to many times.Start the salad by tearing up butter lettuce, or lettuce of choice into bite size pieces. Always make sure to wash the produce very well, especially if it is organic or from the farmers market, there always seems to be more dirt because it was grown naturally.When using citrus in a salad, it is always beautiful to section the fruit into perfect slices. It is an easy, beautiful way to decorate your salad. However, before you cut your fruit, zest it for the salad dressing. You can’t zest fruit when it is all cut up.To get those perfect grapefruit and orange slices, cut off the top and the bottom of the fruit. Using a pairing knife peel the rind off. When the peel is fully removed, cut of any excess white rind that my still be on the fruit. Over a bowl, cut along the fruit membrane until the fruit slices easily slide out. By cutting over a bowl, the juices are reserved and can be used for the dressing.Once the fruit slices are arranged on top of the butter lettuce, cut the avocado into bit size pieces. Cover the avocado with 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved grapefruit and orange juice. When an avocado is cut, it quickly turns brown. The citrus juice will prevent browning and keep the avocado bright green and beautiful. Season the avocado with a pinch of salt and pepper and arrange the avocado on top of the lettuce and fruit. Finally, prep the dressing. Remember, do NOT dress the salad until right before serving. The lettuce will wilt and get soggy the longer it sits in dressing.
Start by finely mincing a medium shallot.In a bowl, whisk the shallot, 1 tablespoon of reserved citrus zest, 2 tablespoons of reserved citrus juice, 1 tablespoon of champagne vinegar, 1 tablespoon of honey. Slowly add 1/4 cup of olive oil while whisking. By slowly adding the olive oil, it emulsifies with the vinegar and citrus making a perfect vinaigrette. Dress the salad when ready to serve. I hope you enjoy this beautiful and fresh salad.
Avocado + Grapefruit +Orange Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Serving size: 4 servings
1 head of butter lettuce
1 large avocado
1 large grapefruit
2 small oranges
Thoroughly wash and dry the butter lettuce. Tear into bit size pieces and arrange on serving dish. Zest the grapefruit and one orange prior to cutting for the salad dressing. Cut off the bottom and top of the citrus fruit and peel with a paring knife. Over a bowl, use the pairing knife to the fruit slices along the membrane until the fruit pieces easily slide out. Arrange fruit on the butter lettuce. Reserve the juice for the dressing and to cover avocado. Cut the avocado into bit size pieces and cover with 1-2 tablespoons of citrus juice to prevent browning. Season the avocado with a pinch of salt and pepper and arrange on top of the butter lettuce and fruit.
1 medium shallot finely minced
1 tablespoon of citrus zest
2 tablespoons of citrus juice
1 tablespoon of champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon of honey
1/4 cup of olive oil
In a bowl, whisk the shallot, 1 tablespoon of reserved citrus zest, 2 tablespoons of reserved citrus juice, 1 tablespoon of champagne vinegar, 1 tablespoon of honey. Slowly add 1/4 cup of olive oil while whisking. By slowly adding the olive oil, it emulsifies with the vinegar and citrus making a perfect vinaigrette. Dress the salad right before serving.