I almost always forget to each lunch on Fridays, especially in the winter. From October to March, sunset is early, days are short, and I usually need to leave work at some embarrassingly early hour to get home in time for shabbat. But we just turned the clocks back and sunset is at a gloriously perfect 6:30 (give or take) up here in the north. I even spotted the first few flowers pushing their way through the softening ground on our one day of warmth and sunshine between the big storm and the little storm.
I picked up a grapefruit a week ago to pay homage to snowbird Bubbie whose Miami apartment my mother inherited and my parents were visiting to begin renovations. Bubbie used to begin each of our Miami meals with a half pink grapefruit. But mine has been sitting in my fruit bowl uninspired. Until today when my avocados finally ripened. So I gathered some ingredients for my much needed salad because I might not get any other veggies for the rest of the day.
See, I’m going to a Friends of the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) dinner tonight. These things can be fun, but I like good food. And on that front, catered dinners (and I use that term loosely) can be very hit or miss. This has nothing to do with the sponsoring organization — it’s just what happens when you cook for a lot of people. Here in Cambridge/Boston, unless it’s Andrew’s (no endorsement — I don’t even know the guy, but his reputation precedes him), a large shabbat dinner can usually guarantee some form of chicken, maybe some meat, and that’s about it. Fresh fruits and vegetables, highly unlikely. A salad that’s more than iceberg and a bottled dressing, unlikely too. And, I’m sorry Jewish world, but potato kugel does NOT count as a vegetable. Starch maybe, but vegetable, no.
Needless to day, I needed to get my veggies on. And I had a bit of time to wait before shabbat dinner at a winter-hopefully-almost-over probably-only-one-more-little-storm-left flowers-soon-to-be-blooming long-awaited-spring little-birds-starting-to-chirp respectable 7:15 pm.
Grapefruit Avocado Salad
Reminiscent of a salad I used to eat at Darna in NY. Also very good topped with grilled chicken. Dressing is very light as pink grapefruits are not very tart – you can add some lemon juice for more acidity, especially if you’re using spinach or mâche greens. Arugula has a spicy bite and normally works well with bold flavors, so its use here was a bit of an experiment but the combination with the mild dressing is quite nice.
Serves 1 person who likes grapefruit; to serve 2, just add extra greens and use the whole avocado
– 2-3 handfuls of arugula (spinach and mâche work great also, but dressing will need to be adjusted – consider adding lemon juice and regular balsamic)
– 1 pink grapefruit
– 1/2 avocado
– olive oil
– white balsamic vinegar (or cider vinegar)
– salt and pepper
Prepare grapefruit suprêmes. Cut off top and bottom of grapefruit to reveal flesh and then cut off remainder of skin so that no pith remains. Remove each grapefruit section over a bowl (to catch juices) by sliding a knife between membrane and flesh in toward the center and then up towards the outside. Repeat until you have removed all of the segments. Save the juice.
Make dressing (enough for two servings). Mix grapefruit juice (~1T) with 2-3T olive oil and 1T vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Dip a green in dressing to taste and adjust as necessary.
Tear greens and arrange on plate. Top with grapefruit suprêmes and coat with dressing. Allow to sit for ~10 minutes to soak up dressing.
Prepare avocado cubes and add last. Cut avocado in half. Score flesh through to skin in a cross-hatch pattern. Scoop flesh with a a large spoon on top of salad and serve immediately. If not using second half, refrigerate with pit to prevent browning.
Top salad with avocado and add additional dressing if necessary.
The dinner was actually pretty good, as it was indeed catered by Andrew. Stuffed turkey breast I believe, asparagus and roasted potatoes. No kugel in sight. Fresh fruit and assorted mini cakes for dessert. Not bad.
And there were beautiful flowers (apparently donated by Sarah’s Garden in Newton — firstname.lastname@example.org, no website that I can find) on each table that were so colorful I thought they were fake (and made a comment to that effect…until I reached over to touch their soft petals and realized my mistake). I was one of the lucky ones who was able to bring a anemone bouquet home and it survived the arduous journey despite in brilliant form. I can’t resist sharing with you their splendor in one of my most favorite vibrant color combinations.