ADVOCATE-TESTED RECIPE

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

This is a minimalist version of a favorite that’s been around since at least the 1960s, maybe longer. Toasted pistachios are a good addition. Another variation is to arrange the fruits atop a bed of butter lettuce or lightly dressed shredded kale. 

Makes 4 servings. Recipe is by Judy Walker.

2 grapefruit (preferably red)

1 avocado

Extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon celery seed or poppy seeds (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut grapefruit into segments (supremes), as follows: Cut off top and bottom of fruit and set on one flat end. With a sharp knife, cut down the sides, following the curve, to remove peel and white pith. When all is removed, hold the grapefruit over a liquid measuring cup to catch juice. Cut down beside each membrane, then turn the knife to cut up, next to the adjacent membrane, and remove wedges. When finished, squeeze remaining juice from the membrane.

2. Cut avocado into wedges and arrange with supremes on a plate.

3. Make dressing: Measure grapefruit juice in the cup and add twice that amount of olive oil, plus mustard and seeds if using. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk well to emulsify. Pour about 3 tablespoons over salad and serve immediately.

The extra dressing is good on any lettuce salad.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Middle Eastern carrot salads are only distantly related to the American ones made with raisins and mayo. The restaurant Saba serves this on a base of lebna, the creamy yogurt cheese. Try a bit of Greek yogurt on the side to get the idea.

Makes 4 to 6 servings. Recipe is from “Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel” (Knopf 2018, $35) by Alon Shaya. 

2 pounds thin carrots, without tops (peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks)

1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1½ teaspoons Morton kosher salt, divided

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1½ tablespoons harissa*

1½ teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon sweet paprika

¼ teaspoon ground caraway seeds

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Grated zest of ½ orange

½ yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons lightly packed mint leaves

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Toss carrots with 1 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon salt.

2. Spread on rimmed baking sheet.

3. Roast 12 to 15 minutes, until sweet and tender on the outside but with some raw crunch at the center.

4. Let stand to room temperature.

5. In a large bowl, combine remaining ¼ cup oil with vinegar, harissa, sugar, spices, zest and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. No need to worry about emulsifying. Toss in onion and carrots and mix. Tear mint leaves over the salad just before serving.

*Harissa is a thick, dark red chile paste available at Middle Eastern groceries.

Atchafalaya’s Beets in a Cloud

Makes 4 to 6 servings. Recipe is by Jacob Cureton, executive chef of Atchafalaya Restaurant. 

9 medium-size beets in two or three different colors, at least golden and red ones

1 to 1½ cups cider vinegar

Aromatics: Sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary, a few black peppercorns, whole coriander and bay leaves

Drizzle of olive oil

Pinch of salt

HONEY MUSTARD BEET PUREE

2 or 3 roasted beets

Zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 lime and 1 orange

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon neutral oil

WHIPPED CREAM CLOUD

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon citrus zest

Pinch of salt

¼ cup full-fat Greek yogurt

FOR SALAD

Supremes (wedges)* of 2 medium Louisiana oranges, such as red navels, Louisiana sweets or satsumas

½ cup candied pecans

½ cup crumbled goat cheese

Small fresh basil leaves

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Wash beets and put them on a pan big enough to hold them all. The restaurant separates the beets by color, as the red ones will bleed and alter the color of the others.

3. Combine vinegar with an equal amount of water and pour it into the pan; liquid should be slightly less than ¼ inch deep.

4. Scatter the aromatics among the beets. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and lightly salt.

5. Cover with foil and bake 1 hour, until fork-tender. Let cool a bit. While warm, use a towel to rub off the skins. Cut into wedges.

6. For puree: Cut 2 or 3 beets into chunks. In a blender, combine beet chunks, zest and juices, mustard and honey. Blend on high speed to make a fine puree. Add oil and puree to a glossy, thick emulsification.

7. For cloud: Whip cream with salt and zest to stiff peaks. Gently fold in yogurt.

8. To plate the salads, divide cream among serving plates. Top with beets, 3 to 5 citrus wedges, pecans, goat cheese and basil. Pipe or spoon puree around the edges and serve immediately.

*See recipe for Avocado and Grapefruit Salad for detailed instructions on cutting citrus supremes.


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