With 20 pounds of grapefruits to consume from our trip out to Anza Borrego, I went in search of recipes online. I hit up all my favorite food blogs, but for most of them, an entry of "grapefruit" in the search box came up with a short list of zero recipes. Even searching on common cooking sites returned only a handful recipes, and many of them were not to my liking. I quickly realized that the grapefruit seems to be the black sheep of the citrus family.
I wonder why this fruit has such a stigma? Though the outside of a grapefruit is often misshapen, the waxy rind always greets you with a cheerful blush and hides a jewel-like treasure of fruit within. Even the delicate pink juice is a special treat.
Since my random recipe searches online were leaving me less than satisfied, I racked my brain and recalled that I had seen a great recipe in one of my Bon Appetit magazines for an avocado and grapefruit salad. I searched the website and came up with this. It was strange, the photo did seem the same as I had remembered, but I was sure it was the right recipe. I was a little discouraged, because frankly, the photo really did not look appetizing to me at all. Now I know that outer beauty isn't everything, but surely wanting my food to look good as well as taste good is not a crime. I decided to give this recipe a go, with a few modifications to fit my tastes and to make the dish more aesthetically pleasing to showcase these gorgeous grapefruits.
I especially disliked that the recipe suggested slicing the grapefruits cross-wise into four slices; this leaves the eater with cumbersome membranes and a wide grapefruit "steak" to cut as they are eating the salad. Not pleasant. Instead, I thought that if I segemented the grapefruits, the dish would look much prettier and each little fruit would be a perfect forkful. And in case you don't want to read until the end of this post, I will save you the suspense: I was right, as usual. :) The salad was beautiful, and the segments were so easy to eat.
Since I had never segmented citrus before, I also thought it would be a chance for me to learn a new kitchen skill. Coincidentally, my good friend and fellow food-blogger Jill had just segmented oranges for her monthly Daring Bakers Challenge and she posted a link to a video on how to segment citrus. After watching the video just once, slicing out almost-perfect grapefruit segments was a breeze. (Ok, so they would not have even come close to passing inspection in a quickfire challenge on Top Chef, but for my first effort I was thoroughly pleased.)
Assembling the rest of the salad was oh-so-easy, and also filled with beautiful colors. Slices of emerald avocados, tiny pieces of magenta shallots, and a dressing like translucent citrine that was dotted with cracked coriander.
When all was said and done, I was really glad that I had not given up on this recipe. The flavors were so fresh, and the juicy grapefruits really got to shine. It was also so quick and easy to prepare, as I suppose it should be, since it was originally featured in the "fast, fresh, and easy" section of the Bon Appetit magazine. My boyfriend and I ate this with the marinated roasted pork from Pork Char Siu Men, and the flavors complimented each other absolutely perfectly. I can't wait to make this again in June or July when I really need a refreshing summer salad to beat the heat.
Avocado and Red Grapefruit Salad
Adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2008
2 Ruby Red grapefruits
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon fresh coriander seeds, cracked
2 small avocados
2-3 cups mixed baby greens
Using a sharp knife, segment both grapefruits, and reserve membranes and cores. For instruction on segmenting, watch the video here. Squeeze the reserved grapefruit cores and membranes over a small bowl to release the juices, likely about 2-3 tablespoons depending on how juicy your grapefruits are. To the same bowl, add the olive oil and the next 6 ingredients and whisk together to make the dressing.
Next, halve, pit, peel, and slice the avocados length-wise. Arrange the grapefruit segments and avocado slices on a plate, and serve with a portion of baby greens. Drizzle dressing over entire plate to taste.