This is a lesson in seasonality, kids. Namely, don’t go mixing up your seasons when you are on the east coast. Maybe you can get away with such things on the west coast, but in New York, May is May. Which is why I kinda don’t understand why I found this recipe in the “spring” section of this cookbook.
Sure it features lettuce, definitely in season in May. In fact, the lettuce we used was fresh from my brother’s girlfriend’s (of Irish Soda Bread fame) garden. No complaints there. And most of the reason I made this salad was because we had some very ripe avocados that were going to go to waste if left another day. So obviously the avocados were not an issue either.
No, my qualms here were with the citrus, which is where most of the flavor of this salad comes from. This recipe called for limes, oranges, and red grapefruit. I totally forgot to buy limes, but luckily we had some key lime juice in the fridge. A bit of a bizarre substitution, but it was just to kinda zest up the dressing, so it worked. The oranges and grapefruit were to be sectioned and put on top of the salad. Sounds lovely, right? Well, not if your oranges were drier than my tear ducts after watching the Lion King (Simba, stop pawing at Mufasa! He’s not going to wake up!!) and your grapefruits were more bitter than I was after I found out they canceled Pushing Daisies (Ned the Piemaker, I miss you).
The bitterness of the grapefruit took over EVERYTHING, and although the textures were all very nice together (lettuce [soft crunch], cucumber [wet crunch], avocado [smooth & buttery], citrus [crisp bursts], almonds [dry crunch]), all I could taste was out of season grapefruit. Lesson learned. You can only pull off inter-seasonal salads in California, where seasons don’t exist and fruits and veggies are ripe whenever the hell they want to be ripe. So now that I’m here, maybe we’ll give this salad another go. In the meantime, don’t file this away in the Never Make section. Let’s not judge wholly based on bad grapefruit.
Avocado Citrus Salad
from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates! (last one from here for a while, mi promiso)
2 tbsps fruity extra-vrigin olive oil
2 tbsps fresh lime juice
1 to 2 tsps mild honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp minced shallots or red onions
3 to 4 cups mesclun or mixed field greens, rinsed and patted dry
1 cucumber, peeled
1 ruby grapefruit, peeled
2 oranges, peeled
1 large ripe avocado, preferably Hass
1/2 cup lightly toasted sliced almonds, or toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds
freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and set aside. In another owl, toss the greens with 1 to 2 tbsps of dressing and arrange them on a platter or individual plates. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and slice crosswise into 1/4-inch thick crescents. Toss them with a little dressing and scatter them on the greens.
Section the peeled citrus fruit. Squeeze any remaining juice from the membranes of the citrus into the dressing. Arrange alternate sections of grapefruit and orange like a pinwheel or starburst over the greens. Slice around the avocado lengthwise, gently twist the halves apart, and remove the pit. Carefully cut the flesh into cubes right in the skins, scoop them out with a serving spoon, and arrange them on the salad. Drizzle the rest of the dressing over the fruit and avocado.
Sprinkle with nuts or seeds and serve with fresh black pepper.