Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ladies' Lunch for Dinner

Last night's dinner was very Ladies Who Lunch: a pink and green, light and citrusy Grapefruit and Avocado Salad with Shrimp and Leafy Greens. Fork and I probably should've been drinking white wine spritzers with the meal. But Fork had just won a softball game, and I'd just completed a speed workout with my training group, so we were more in a water guzzling mood. Dinner, though, rocked.

I found the recipe in Joyce Goldstein's new Mediterranean Fresh, a book of one-dish salad meals and mix-and-match dressings. It's the kind of book I love: easy, healthy plates that can be prepared vegetarian or not. The simple dish I made last night features grapefruit segments and sliced avocado over greens, all tossed in a simple citrus dressing made with orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest and olive oil. Joyce suggests adding crabmeat, scallops or shrimp, and I went with shrimp, which I cooked in a saute pan with some of the citrus dressing and laid atop the salad just before serving. I'm sure seared scallops or crabmeat would be terrific, too.

The grapefruit's tang, avocado's mellow creaminess and greens' springiness all came together beautifully under the citrus dressing. The shrimp gave the salad a little power. We wiped our plates clean.--S

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad with Leafy Greens

Serves 4

2 small grapefruits
2 avocados
3/4 to 1 c mixed citrus dressing (recipe follows)
6 handfuls of assorted mild, sweet leafy greens, such as butter, oak leaf or red leaf lettuce
1/2 lb crabmeat, shrimp or scallops (optional)

1. Working with 1 grapefruit at a time, cut a thin slice off the top and bottom to reveal the flesh. Stand the grapefruit upright and remove the peel in wide strips, cutting downward and following the contour of the fruit. Holding the grapefruit over a bowl, cut along both sides of each segment, releasing the segments from the membrane and allowing them to drop into the bowl. Using the knife tip or a toothpick, pry out any seeds. Squeeze the membrane over another bowl to release the juice. Repeat with the remaining grapefruit. You should have about 1/2 c juice.
2. Cut the avocados in half and remove and discard the pits. With a large spoon, scoop the avocado from the peel. Cut the flesh into 1/4-in. slices. Drizzle with 1/4 c. dressing.
3. Toss the greens with 1/4 c. dressing. Distribute among 4 salad plates or arrange on a large platter. Top with avocado slices and grapefruit segments and drizzle with the remaining dressing.
4. If you are adding shrimp, sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Place 1/4 c. citrus dressing in a large saute pan along with the reserved grapefruit juice and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook, turning once, until they are barely cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and arrange the shrimp on top of the greens, alternating them with the grapefruit and avocado. Drizzle with the remaining citrus dressing.

Citrus Dressing

Makes 1 scant cup

1/2 c. mild, fruity extra-virgin olive oil or pure olive oil
Freshly grated zest of 1 orange (about 1 T)
1/4 c fresh orange juice
2 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 t sugar, if needed
1/2 t sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients. Dip a lettuce leaf into the dressing to see if it is tart enough, has enough salt, and is balanced. Add more lemon juice or sugar if needed.

Recipe courtesy of Mediterranean Fresh

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