At this time of year, most of us are thinking about shedding a few of the pounds that came with holiday cookies and candies. That usually means salads and more salads. Conventional lettuce combinations quickly become tiresome and the thought of facing yet another … unappetizing.
Citrus to the rescue! And the timing couldn’t be better. Local oranges and grapefruit are at or near their peak.
They can be used in all kinds of combinations to make delightful first course, side dish or entrée salads.
The salad featured here is one of my favorites for the simple reason that I was formerly the proud owner of a prolific grapefruit tree, while two doors down the street there was an equally generous avocado tree. You can convert it to a main dish by adding some grilled shrimp or scallops (blackened would be nice) and a handful of toasted pine nuts or walnuts.
These days, I like to buy citrus from the Frutville Grove store, on Fruitville Road about one-and-a-half miles east of I-75. Its citrus is grown at that location, so the quality and freshness are as close to my backyard tree as I have found. If you are so inclined, you can even pick your own.
Orange varieties available at press time included Ambersweet, pineapple orange, Murcott, Temple and the first Minneolas (aka Honeybells). Grapefruit, lemons and limes are on the wane; call to see what’s available before you go: 377-0896. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
News flash: after being closed all last season, the Albritton Fruit store on Proctor, just east of Honore is open again. The store is currently offering red grapefruit and Honeybell oranges. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; call 923-2573.
Bogey Lane Salad
Yield: 4 servings
Start-to-finish: 20 minutes
Grapefruit Vinaigrette Dressing:
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/4 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients with a whisk; season with salt and pepper.
3 large red grapefruits
1 large avocado
4 ounces watercress
Peel and section the grapefruit.
Quarter the avocado lengthwise, then peel and slice thinly lengthwise.
Divide the watercress between four salad plates and mound slightly.
Arrange alternating grapefruit and avocado sections over the greens, and spoon the dressing over.
Advance preparation: Make the dressing and section the grapefruit as far ahead as you like. Assemble the salad immediately before serving.
To Section Grapefruit
• Using a thin-bladed, sharp knife, slice off both ends of the fruit so you can see the thickness of the rind.
Working over a bowl to catch the juices, peel it away, cutting from top to bottom, and following the curve of the fruit.
• Remove any bits of bitter white pith that you may have missed.
• Cut close to the membranes to remove segments. A serrated knife works well for this. You can process a lot of fruit in a single session, because the segments keep well when refrigerated in a container with a tight cover.
Citrus Salad Combinations to Try
• Watercress, oranges and red onion; red-wine vinaigrette.
• Italian parsley leaves with Nicoise olives and toasted walnuts; orange dressing
• Romaine with oranges, sweet onions, pitted green olives; red-wine vinaigrette
• Butter or bibb lettuce with orange slices; orange dressing
• Endive, avocado and red grapefruit; white-wine vinaigrette
• Radicchio, grapefruit and spinach with Kalamata olives; red-wine vinaigrette
• Pink grapefruit, arugula, curly endive (frisée), Belgian endive and goat cheese; white-wine vinaigrette
• Baby spinach, oranges, pine nuts; orange dressing
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Cops Corner: Sarasota
Enjoy this week's edition of Cops Corner.
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The exchange of goods and chatter are the usual soundtrack for the Saturday morning Downtown Farmers Market on Orange Avenue.
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Bookstores across the state celebrated Florida Bookstore Day Saturday. Bookstore1 held an all-ages literary party and read-a-thon for customers and members of the community.