pink grapefruit & avocado salad
It’s that time of year. When people show up at the gym for the first time in a year and decide that — yes — doing three cardio weight-lifting classes in a row is a good idea. As an instructor, I tell them — no — that is not a good idea. You need to ease into these sort of things or else you’ll be in for a week and out for the rest of the year. (Not to mention that if you work out three times as much as you need to, you’re only gonna want to eat three times as much.)
By all means, use the New Year inspiration to do spark some change in your routine. But be reasonable people. On that note, I present a totally reasonable, resolution-upholding salad lunch (or if you worked out too much today, more of a snack). I first got the idea for a “Tipsy Grapefruit Salad” from my Tasting Table emails, which I highly recommend receiving. They suggested the salad as a good way to use your leftover New Year’s booze. But, since I don’t have much booze in the house, let alone tequila blanco and Grand Marnier, I started searching for a more doable recipe.
I already had both grapefruit and avocado on hand — ‘Tis the Season. Grapefruit, though not locally grown (when does summer arrive!?) is at its prime right now, and the Hass avocados were lookin’ good, too. Both have the type of nutritional profiles that are key to jumpstarting new years. But, sadly, both are the types of foods that garner love-hate responses from people. My husband happens to loathe both of them, which is why they make for a great me-only lunch! If you’re looking for a few reasons to like — or at least try — these power foods again, here are the facts:
PINK GRAPEFRUIT, unlike white grapefruit, has the antioxidant lycopene, which gives it the pink color and some free-radical-fighting punch. The fruit also contains the fiber pectin that is known to help with lowering LDL cholesterol and limonoids that help inhibit tumor growth (always good), according to The World’s Healthiest Foods site.
AVOCADO — and here’s the kicker — has recently proven itself as key to the absorption of, you guessed it, that crazy-good lycopene that’s in grapefruit. Recent research shows the absorption of both lycopene and beta-carotene are dramatically increased by adding avocado (or avocado) oil to an otherwise avocado-free salad, according to WHFoods. This is because those nutrients are fat-soluble, so the fat that makes avocados the most delicious addition to almost any meal (in my opinion) also helps release the goodness already within that meal.
Have I convinced you yet? I was a little leery about the thought of this combination taste-wise. I grew up eating grapefruits by themselves, with one of those neat-o grapefruit knives that I just got for Christmas (thanks Grandma!). And then you flip ‘em over and wring into your bowl all the irresistibly tart juice. And avocados, well I put those on everything. But together? It works. Here’s the re
Adapted from an Alice Waters recipe via Food & Wine.
Makes about two salads. Cut the recipe in half for lunch for one.
- 2 medium grapefruits
- 1 teaspoon finely grated grapefruit zest (zest it before you deconstruct the fruit)
- 1 medium shallot, minced (or I used sliced celery for a crunch)
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 2 medium Hass avocados, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
- Chervil leaves, for garnish (I didn’t have these)
- Using a sharp knife, cut the skin and all of the bitter white pith off of the grapefruits. Working over a bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the sections. Squeeze the juice from the membranes into the bowl. (This gets messy, especially if if your knife skills could use some work like mine.)
- Transfer 2 tablespoons of the juice to another bowl. Add the zest, shallot/celery and vinegar; let the dressing stand for 10 minutes.
- Season the avocado with salt (this is key) and arrange on plates with the grapefruit sections. Stir the oil into the dressing; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle onto the grapefruit and avocado, garnish with the chervil and serve.