WINTER SALAD with GRAPEFRUIT, AVOCADO & CITRUS HONEY VINAIGRETTE
In May of 1998, late autumn in the southern hemisphere, Point Piper, a lovely quiet suburb in Sydney, Australia, was home. With hearts set on a journey to the Amandari Resort in nearby Bali, the U.S. State Department closed its Indonesian embassy and issued a travel warning to American citizens three days before our departure. Disappointed, yet determined to take a holiday, our Aussie mates shared their getaway ideas and soon we would be on our way to New Zealand and one of the most heavenly places on Earth: the Huka Lodge.
Visions of Ubud trekking through rice terraces and tropical jungles were exchanged for a journey through the picturesque Middle Earth filming location of The Lord of the Rings and fly fishing in the North Island waterfalls. No Trout About It: New Zealand is Best! Like most Montanans, Kiwis are comfortable in waders with a creel and rod over their shoulders. With bragging rights and a freshly gutted and gilled 30-inch Rainbow Trout as proof of our successful expedition, we presented the torpedo shaped, blue-green, black spotted and pink streaked cousin of salmon to the lodge's chef. That evening, alongside a perfectly grilled eight pound specimen, the chef presented a platter of bitter greens, creamy avocado, and ruby red grapefruit tossed in sweet citrusy dressing. A clever accompaniment mimicking the palette of the freshwater, hard-fighting gamefish. Refreshing and seasonal, this salad became lunch for three days straight. The morning we were to head back to the Land Down Under, the chef popped a handwritten note under our cabin door. Scrawled across lodge stationery was the recipe for this satisfying, healthy winter salad.
Nota bene: This salad is best eaten within the hour. However, the citrus preserves the avocado well and I gladly save leftovers for the next day. I cut up the avocado and toss in the remaining dressing to make certain the avocado stays green. Equally delicious when tossed with some torn butter lettuce leaves. To make emulsifying the dressing easier, heat the honey 15 seconds in the microwave and then whisk like crazy.
1 large ruby red grapefruit
2 Haas avocados, peeled & pitted
Chives, snipped with scissors
Maldon Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
CITRUS HONEY DRESSING
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
1. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4 inch off each end of the grapefruit. Turn the grapefruit on its end and begin to slice off the skin, taking care to remove the pith and white membrane.
2. Cut between the membranes of the grapefruit to release the flesh and leave the interior membrane behind. Squeeze the excess juice from the membrane into a bowl and reserve.
3. Slice the avocados in half lengthwise and peel. Cut the avocado in slices crosswise so make little quarter moons (they will get smaller as you get closer to the stem end).
4. Arrange on a platter, alternating the grapefruit and avocado.
5. Drizzle citrus honey vinaigrette over the salad, top with snipped chives, sea salt flakes and a few grinds of pepper.
TO MAKE THE DRESSING
1. Combine the honey and minced shallot in a small mixing bowl.
2. Measure 1/3 cup of the reserved grapefruit juice and add to the honey and minced shallot.
3. Make an emulsion by slowly pouring the olive oil into the juice mixture and whisk briskly.