Saturday, June 03, 2006
Salad: Ruby Grapefruit, Avocado, and Pickled Red Onions with Baby Spinach, Grapefruit Mojo Dressing and Chile-Lime Toasted Almonds
Ever since I opened The Millennium cookbook for the first time, I had been thinking of making this salad since the picture in this cookbook is so enticing. Today, I determined to do it cause it is such a perfect timing: summer has arrived in Southern California. It is hot and who wants to turn on the stove?
The title of this salad is a mouthful one but you can't really leave out any ingredient since each ingredient played an important role in the whole ensemble and deserved to be mentioned. Just like in the movies, all individuals contributed needs to be mentioned in the credits.
The Ruby Grapefruit and the Grapefruit Mojo Dressing played major roles and created refreshing flavors. The avocado added a buttery and creamy taste. The pickled red onions was a WOW! I fell in love with this pickled red onions that I may want to include it in my salads this summer, always. It is very easy to make: slice a red onion very thin, add minced grated lime zest from 1 lime, add fresh lime juice (about 1/4 cup), and sea salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp). Magic happens when you mix all these ingredients together and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so. The onion releases sweet flavor and beautiful pinkish color. The strong oniony flavor was somewhat reduced. The lime zest, lime juice, and salt did all that for you.
The Chile-Lime Toasted Almonds is the best supporting star, I think. Without it, this salad is not complete. It is also so simple to make: mix a cupful slivered/sliced almonds with 1/4 fresh lime juice, 1 tsp. chili powder (I am thinking about chipotle powder next time), a dash of cayenne pepper and 1/4 tsp. sea salt. Mix them all together and bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 10-15 minutes until brown and toasty. Every 5 minutes, stir them all up so they are browned evenly. At first, I thought, hhmmm...toasting wet sliced almonds? But I went ahead and followed the recipe and they became crunchy and toasty at the end after they were cooled down. This toasted almond is so good I kept tasting them without the salad and had been thinking about making a big batch for snacks.
Baby spinach was what made it called salad. I supposed anyone can replace it with green lettuce leaves but I think spinach is more suitable for this salad. I bought organic baby spinach that were in plastic bags already triple washed to cut down some steps.
I pretty much followed the grapefruit mojo dressing recipe on page 41 but replaced the honey with agave nectar. I also did the variation: oil-free version, suggested in the cookbook by eliminating all oils and replaced them with lite silken tofu. So, this salad is a FAT-FREE one (I didn't even tell DH and he still likes this salad very much). There are lots of fat-free recipes in this cookbook including several salad dressings. This cookbook will become one of my favorites.