Avocado and grapefruit? Really? That’s what I first thought when I was browsing through the amazing cookbook, Barefoot in Paris, by none other than Ina Garten. Ina is famous for using fresh flavors and unique combinations and so I trusted her, especially when I saw how simple the dish was to make, not to mention inexpensive! Before I go into further detail, thank you parents for the amazing new cookbooks, Barefoot and Cook with Jamie, by Jamie Oliver. Both books are chalk full of accessible recipes, incredible photography, and special food that can be made everyday, assuming we all have nothing but time and disposable income 😉 I truly can’t wait to try out recipes on friends and family, tweak them slightly and experiment, and adventure into cooking more complex and technically challenging courses. Luckily for me, this first recipe from Ina is so great because of it’s simplicity, and yes, avocado and grapefruit is the truth.
Thanks to my new camera, the same Canon Powershot endorsed by someone we all associate with cutting edge technology and stunning photography, Ashton Kutcher, I am looking forward to stepping up my presentation to create stunning visuals as well as lick-your-plate-clean deliciousness. So far so good, as you can tell from the visuals of the Avocado and Grapefruit Salad. This dish is perfect to start a dinner because it brings fresh palate-cleansing flavors, acidity, and is very aethetically pleasing. Ina says the dish is perfect for a summer day and enjoyed this same style of a salad at a “very elegant restaurant in Paris.” That’s good enough for me to make on a balmy 25 degree day in Chicago. Enough delaying, on to how to make it, with my little tweaks included.
The result: Avocado and Grapefruit Salad (pre-dinner course, 3-4 people, or 1 person for a healthy snack/lunch)
- 1-3 ripe avocados
- 1-3 grapefruits
- 1/2-3/4 tbsp Dijon mustard, to taste
- 1-1 1/2 tsp Kosher or sea salt
- 3/4-1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon
- 1/3-1/2 cup good olive oil (primary taste and binder so make sure the olive oil tastes good on it’s own)
- 2-4 dashes red wine vinegar (my primary tweak, not in the original recipe)
Combine everything but the avocado(s) and grapefruit(s) in a bowl and whisk until the vinaigrette has some body. I kept tasting it and adding a little bit more black pepper or red wine vinegar or whatever needed a little more representation. I estimated what I put in of each because I didn’t measure it out, so don’t be afraid to make it your own and adding a little something, like I did with the red wine vinegar. The key is for the vinaigrette to have good flavor that can work with the avocado and grapefruit, not overpower the flavor.
Using a large knife, slice the peel from the grapefruit, removing all the white layer underneath the skin. From there slice between the membranes to have nicely shaped grapefruit slices for the presentation (you could also add a little of the grapefruit juice to the vinaigrette to combine the flavors nicely). Cut the avocado in half, removing the seed, then carefully remove the inside from the skin, trying to keep it’s original shape. Slice the avocado halves thinly, then dip each slice into the vinaigrette so the avocado doesn’t brown quickly and to incorporate the vinaigrette. Lay an avocado slice and arrange neatly around a plate, then add a grapfruit slice to each avocado slice. Spoon a little vinaigrette on each arrangement and in the middle or around the edges for presentation.
I don’t know why this works, but it does, I have the pictures, the empty plates, and the friends’ reviews to prove it!