It's citrus and avocado season, kids. Cheap as borscht (errr, wrong veg, Ren) and super-good for you, it's time to load up the shopping cart with some Ruby Reds and some Haas. Sometimes all a dreary January day needs is a bit of avocado, mashed with garlic and lemon and sprinkled with salt, eaten at the counter standing up, with blue corn tortilla chips in one hand and a nice cold beer in the other. Close your eyes and you could be in Mexico,
When I was a kid, I hated grapefruit. No surprise there, as most kids aren't super fond of it. My Mom isn't a fan, so it was never brought into the house by her, but whenever we visited my Grandma, I remember the grapefruit. Palest pink. Sour. Heaping tablespoons of sugar poured on to aid consumption. Brutal. Even as a grown up, the palest of pale grapefruits do nothing for me. They don't even get a second glance. Not when there are the Ruby Red beauties out in the world. So pretty and sweet, definitely the popular cousin of the bunch. Sectioned in salad, I'm in love.
Let's talk about salad for a bit. 14 days into 2012 and I've eaten plenty of greens (and cake! There's no detox happening here...) and this is one of my fave salads. Swimming with buttery avocado, lemony shrimp and just the perfect amount of grapefruit sweet, this salad brings a welcome lightness in a month of full on holiday recovery. You'll feel like you are on a cleanse at some posh spa, and Jon Hamm is your waiter and he brings you water with lime and brushes your hair and laughs at all your jokes.....errrr sorry for that. Daydream, interrupted.
The recipe is simply a guide - make it as you like it. Sub in some spinach for the greens, or blood oranges for the grapefruit. Omit avocado (but why?!) and add artichoke hearts instead. Give the shrimp a bit of a marinade before cooking - and remember they only need a little heat - just until pink. The vinaigrette is a simple red wine vinegar and olive oil, but feel free to mess around with that too. My feelings won't be hurt.
Kick back, tuck in and dream on.
Grapefruit and Avocado Salad with Shrimp
454g (1 pound) large peeled and deveined shrimp, thawed and rinsed well
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1-2 large Ruby Red or Texas Rio grapefruit
1 firm, ripe avocado
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
142g package fresh baby greens
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
For shrimp - in a medium, non reactive bowl, combine marinade ingredients. Add shrimp. Toss to coat and leave to marinate for about 30 minutes. Remove shrimp from marinade. Heat a pan over medium high heat, and cook shrimp for about 2-3 minutes, until pink. Set aside to cool.
Slice peel from top and bottom of grapefruit. Peel sides so all the flesh is showing. Cut out segments over a bowl to catch the juice. Reserve about 1/4 cup juice for dressing. Cut avocado in quarters around pit. Remove and discard pit, then peel and dice.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup grapefruit juice, oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper and dill. Adjust seasonings.
Divide greens among 4 plates. Top with grapefruit, avocado, cucumber and shrimp. Drizzle with vinaigrette just before serving. Serves 4. Adapted from Chatelaine, January 2012.