Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Charred Grapefruit & Avocado Salad

I'll be the first to admit that I used to think there was not much joy in a salad recipe. But this recipe is more about using produce that is looking good this time of year, exciting cooking techniques, and ingredients that made it to Organic Gardening's 9 best foods to eat in January. What are those 9 besties? Grapefruit came in as number one, followed in hot pursuit by beets, brussel sprouts, turkey, cauliflower, pumpkin seeds, avocados, eggs, and yogurt. For more info on why these 9 contenders should make it to your plate, check out Organic Gardening's webpage.

I'm focusing on grapefruit and avocado today. The health benefits are amazing! Grapefruit is not only good for your nose and your ticker, but it's vitamin 'C' content has been found to reduce cold symptoms by 23%, and we could all use a cold fighting boost right about now! Avocados are rich in magnesium and monounsaturated fats which provide a more sustained form of energy than the quick burning carbs that folks tend to crave this time of year. Having sustained energy levels will keep your mood elevated too. Pair these two power foods together and prepare to conquer, or just be better equipped to face the day.

This salad is easy and requires just a bit of prep time. As a base, I used a blend of chopped kale, romaine, and beet greens. Use whatever greens you have on hand. I topped the salad with a good amount of avocado and grapefruit, tossed it all together with a scallion vinaigrette, and topped it off with some pumpkin seeds ( they are rich in magnesium which helps your body convert tryptophan into serotonin). The charred grapefruit flavor comes from a burnt citrus salt that lends a smoky and bright flavor.

Charred Grapefruit & Avocado Salad
serves 4

8 cups chopped greens- romaine, kale, butter lettuce, beet greens, or whatever you have
2 avocados- halved, pitted, and sliced
2 grapefruit- peeled and segmented (to segment a grapefruit simply cut eat slice between the membrane leaving you with the tender and juicy grapefruit segments)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted and sprinkled with burnt citrus salt
scallion vinaigrette
burnt citrus salt

Toss the greens with a liberal amount of scallion vinaigrette. Divide dressed greens amongst four plates. Top each pile of greens with about half of a sliced avocado and half of a segmented grapefruit. Top each salad with 2 Tablespoons of toasted pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with a bit more scallion vinaigrette and sprinkle each salad with burnt citrus salt. This would also make a wonderful entrĂ©e topped with a portion of grilled salmon. Enjoy! Belly up!!

Scallion Vinaigrette
6 scallions, pale and dark green parts only, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
3 Tablespoons sherry vinegar (you could sub apple cider vinegar)
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon water
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped

Whirl the above ingredients together in a blender or food processor until blended well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This vinaigrette tastes fantastic on grilled fish and vegetables too!

Burnt Citrus Salt
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from 1 lime and 1 grapefruit. Place zest side up on an aluminum lined baking sheet fitted with a rack. Using a blowtorch, torch zest until lightly charred. Let cool. mince, and stir into 1 cup flaked sea salt. Store at room temp up to 1 month. This recipe and other burnt food ideas are from Saveur. It turns out I'm not the only one who likes burnt toast, burnt marshmallows, and burnt bbq bits!