Friday, January 13, 2012

Lighten Up! Grapefruit & Avocado Salad with Shrimp

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, in the pool bar on the beach.  Sounds lovely, no?  I need to re-visit the notion of a tropical holiday. 

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 Ryan Gosling 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

Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
red pepper flakes 
454g (1 pound) large peeled and deveined shrimp, thawed and rinsed well

2 large Ruby Red  or Texas Rio grapefruit
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar or  red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
8 cups mixed salad greens such as baby spinach, kale, arugula, lettuce, etc.
1 large avocado, sliced
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp fresh dill sprigs

For shrimp - in a medium, non reactive bowl, combine marinade ingredients, using just a pinch of the red pepper flakes. Add shrimp. Toss thoroughly so all of the shrimp are evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. 

Remove shrimp from marinade, discard the marinade. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium high heat, and cook shrimp until they're pink and opaque on each side, about 4 minutes total. Let the shrimp cool in the skillet at room temperature, then place in a clean bowl as well as any juices left behind in the skillet. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes - 2 hours.
Slice the peel from the top and bottom of the grapefruit. Peel sides so all the flesh is showing. Cut out segments over a bowl to catch the juice. Reserve about 1 Tbsp juice for dressing. Use up the rest in sparkling water or a cocktail. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the grapefruit juice, oil, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper Adjust seasonings to taste

Divide greens among four plates or a large platter. Top with grapefruit, avocado, cucumber, shrimp and fresh dill. Drizzle with vinaigrette just before serving. Serves 4. 


  1. Oh my... that salad looks almost as luscious as Jon Hamm. (Only almost, though... it would be very difficult to surpass Jon Hamm.)
    I can never pass up a combination of citrus and avocado, and the idea of adding shrimp to the mix is positively brilliant. Must run to the greengrocer to get some grapefruits and salad greens!

  2. Looks gorgeous Renee! Time for me to go grab a grapefruit!

  3. I'm up early waiting for the good light this morning with plans to shoot a grapefruit salad for the blog. :) Yours looks delish!

  4. Mmm ... nice idea. I was tempted by shrimp in the grocery store today, should have given in!

  5. 16 days into 2012 and def no detox yet for me too :P just cakes, hardly any greens lol.

    ive never had grapefruits in salads...only as a fruit with soem honey! yoru salad looks sensational...i can imagine me picking out the juicy grapefruit pieces to eat...!

  6. Absolutely gorgeous salad! I've been dreaming of Mexico lately myself- in particular Tulum. One of these years I'm going to make it there. In the meantime, I'm going to try your avocado trick- that sounds delicious. Also, thanks for the reminder to pick up some Texas Rio Stars- I've been meaning to make some grapefruit pate aux fruit.

  7. Hi! It's so cool to stumble upon another Canadian blogger! (I'm from Ontario, but now living in Brisbane) This salad is completely perfect for the Australian summer and I can't wait to put it together! Thanks for the inspiration! Keep warm!

    Catherine @ The Spring

  8. That is one gorgeous salad, and a whole bunch of my favorite foods all together.

  9. Renee,
    I wish I had that salad sitting in front of me right now! I often make a salad with avocado and citrus, but you are blowing my mind with the addition of shrimp and dill. Sounds divine... And I love a salad that is a meal in itself. Yum!

  10. Renee, your salad looks beautiful and I like all the ingredients in it...the grapefruit sure adds a great citrus flavor to it.
    Hope you are having a wonderful week :-)

  11. Thanks so much for all of your kind words! Catherine, I'm happy you came across my blog - have fun in Australia! Shelley, I hope you make it to Mexico...ah, warmer climes.

  12. This weekend it is going down!!! That's slang for I am making it this weekend :)

  13. What a gorgeous looking salad!!
    BTW, where did you get that serving plate?

  14. Hey Anon, I got the serving plate from Superstore, here in Saskatoon.

  15. This is such a gorgeous salad! I just wrote a "Thank You, Blog World" post, and mentioned this recipe in an avocado inspiration section:
    Also, your photos are lovely!

  16. What a spectacular recipe!! It will be featured tomorrow as the "Daily Nosh" on the paired with Gloria Ferrer 2007 Brut Rose.

    Kudos to you ~ Great site and beautiful pictures!


  17. I am still scraping the last of the greens and that delicious dressing off my plate as I write this. DE.LI.CIOUS!!! Thank you so much for sharing!! (You've helped me to pretend it is already Summer here in Australia, despite the wind howling away outside...)


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