This refreshing winter salad uses fruit vinegar and honey to sweeten the grapefruit. I don’t actually like the tartness of grapefruit, and love this combination. My friend Lisa from The Gonzo Gourmet wrote a beautiful short essay about this salad.
On Saturday I brought this dish to a food bloggers writing workshop taught by Dianne Jacob of Will Write for Food. The whole day was energizing and made me fall even more in love with blogging, and with writing. I hope you enjoy future posts as I explore telling more stories. One assignment was to choose a food or drink from the sideboard and, after experiencing it through all of our senses, write a short piece about it in about ten minutes. Here is what Lisa wrote about this salad…
Growing up as a picky eater is like wearing black t-shirts all the time. There’s nothing inherently wrong with either scenario, but there’s nothing terribly exciting, either. Color is chaos, it’s fireworks any day but the fourth of July. Now, a few days into eating without gluten, I’m beginning to wonder what else is out there for girls like me who have a sweet tooth in the morning. Out goes cereal dancing with berries, oatmeal crowding out a banana, wheat toast smothered in almond butter and draped with apples.
Consider instead a bright fruit salad, one all the more delicious because I didn’t have to peel the grapefruit or source the ripe avocados. But what almost stopped me in my tracks were the kumquats: I don’t even know what those are. Sure, I’ve heard of kumquats, but if you handed one to me I’d hand it back with a faint smile, assuring us both that I have no clue what I’m doing.
The tang of the grapefruit I recognize from when my mother would serve them with crystals of sugar sparkling in the morning light. Against that sourness the creamy texture of the avocados is welcome – to have both in one bite is why I live in California, where seasons are seasonless and I’m only just beginning to understand that the rest of the world doesn’t have our fruits year round like we do.
The kumquats are smaller than grapes; at first I thought they were cherry tomatoes (other than the fact that they’re as bright as tangerines). Unlike the grapefruit, they’re not peeled, and that’s a texture I’m not used to. It’s how I imagine an orange peel would taste if I were to ever eat one, the way I see some men suck on lemon rinds.
I just loved some of her language, and it was fun to see my salad through her eyes. What do you think?
There are many salad recipes out there featuring a grapefruit-avocado combo. I got the idea from Jennifer Gill Trejo at Garden of Eden Organics (my CSA) and then put my own spin on it. Enjoy!
2 Blanco D’Oro grapefruit
2 ripe avocados
1 T. (15 ml) agave syrup or honey
1 T. (15 ml) cassis [black currant] vinegar*
1 handful mint leaves
You are going to macerate the grapefruit and kumquats for several hours or overnight before serving this. Macerating is a technique where fruit is combined with some kind of sugar, which creates a syrup as it draws liquid out of the fruit. In the case of grapefruit and kumquats, it sweetens them enough to balance the flavors. My mom always did this with summer berries, sprinkling sugar over them in a bowl in the fridge. I’m sure she had no idea it had a fancy term like macerating. Go Mom!
Whisk the agave syrup or honey together with the vinegar in a bowl large enough to hold the salad.
Start by cutting off each end of the grapefruit, then slicing off all the peel, using a serrated knife. You should always use a serrated knife on citrus peel, as cutting it can dull regular knives. You should now have a naked grapefruit with very little white pith left.
Switching to a sharp paring knife, cut each individual section of grapefruit into the bowl with the syrup-vinegar mixture, leaving the pith in between each segment. When you have cut all the segments into the bowl, squeeze all the juice out of what remains. You have made “supremes.” Not to be confused with the Motown group.
Slice the kumquats as thinly as possible and add them to the bowl.
Toss the fruit with the syrup, then cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Just before serving, cut each avocado in half lengthwise, then twist the halves apart. Using a sharp paring knife, score the avocado in both directions (cutting just to the peel but not through it), then use a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the square sections into the bowl with the grapefruit.
Finely chop the mint and add to the bowl. Toss. Add a small amount of salt if you like.
Notes: You can use any type of grapefruit if you can’t find Blanco d’Oro. If you can’t find black currant vinegar, any fruity vinegar will work, like balsamic or pomegranate.
Are you a grapefruit fan? Have you ever eaten kumquats? What did you think of Lisa’s essay? Please check out her beautiful blog here.