I have a new found affinity for grapefruit. Funny how your taste buds change as they’re exposed to new foods (you couldn’t get me anywhere near grapefruit as a kid). But now, everyday, I walk down the street to the grocery store to pick up a grapefruit, not the small ones, but those jumbo-sized grapefruit. I like their tartness and tang. Lately, it’s not just grapefruit; my appreciation for citrus has expanded to include blood oranges, Meyer lemons, and those cute little satsumas (a type of mandarin orange). Before long, I’ve accumulated a nice little collection of winter citrus. That got me thinking…this time of year, am completely focused on hearty, soul-soothing winter soups and stews, but there’s a world of citrus to savor.
So, what can one do beyond just peeling and enjoying whole or freshly squeezed (also quite delicious)? What to do with this winter bounty? Thinking something savory to balance out the sweetness of the citrus.
It was a dark and gloomy, overcast, gray winter day when I made this salad, though you would never know it, as this dish is the antithesis of all those things — bright, sunny, refreshing…and totally hit the spot. In keeping with my intention to highlight all this wonderful citrus, I’ve incorporated three types into the salad. Sectioned grapefruit and blood orange went into the salad, and lime into the dressing. A nice peppery green, like arugula or watercress, along with some spicy radish (used breakfast radish) counterbalance the sweetness and tartness of the citrus. Creamy, sliced avocado, pea shoots (or substitute other leafy lettuces or shoots/sprouts), and toasted pumpkin seeds round out the mix.
There are numerous renditions of grapefruit and avocado salad out there; my spin features a poblano-lime dressing. As far as chile peppers go, poblanos are fairly mild from a heat standpoint; roasting them on an open flame heightens their flavor and subtle smokiness. Again, light and refreshing, and perfect for this salad. Winter blues begone; there’s no room for you today.
Decided to make a meal of this salad by adding some wild sockeye salmon. It’s pretty easy to prepare; the sockeye needs about 4 minutes per side (depending on its thickness) for medium-rare, perfectly moist, tender, and flavorful.
Oftentimes best to keep things simple and showcase their inherent goodness…this salad makes a satisfying lunch or light dinner.
Spicy (breakfast) radishes counterbalance the sweetness/tartness of the citrus…
Grapefruit Avocado Salmon Salad with Poblano-Lime Dressing
1 grapefruit, sectioned
1 blood orange, sectioned
1 avocado, sliced into wedges
Large handful spicy greens such as arugula or watercress
Large handful pea shoots (optional)
Radish, thinly sliced
Toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish
1/2 pound salmon; preferably wild (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Poblano-Lime vinaigrette (recipe below)
To prepare the salmon: Season the salmon with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon, skin-side down, and cook for about 4 minutes; flip, and continue cooking for another 2 1/2 to 3 minutes on the other side, until medium-rare.
Assembly: Toss the arugula (or watercress) and other greens with desired amount of dressing. Layer the dressed greens, sectioned grapefruit and blood orange, avocado, radish, and salmon on top. Drizzle a bit more dressing on top, and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, a sprinkling of coarse sea salt, and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper.
1 large poblano
1/4 cup of lime juice
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons thick Greek yogurt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Roast the pepper on an open gas flame, turning with metal tongs, until charred on all sides (alternatively, you can place the poblano under the broiler or roast it on the grill, turning every few minutes). Place in a paper bag about 10 minutes. Remove from the bag, and, with the side of a chef’s knife, scrape away the charred skin. Cut open and seed the peppers.
Roughly chop the poblano and add to the blender, along with the lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and yogurt. Blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.