In Praise of Simple Recipes

Sunday, August 28, 2011



Sometimes the best recipes are the ones that are so simple, they’re easy to overlook.

This recipe is a great example.  I’ve flipped through Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris many times, but I didn’t even remember seeing it.  For one thing, avocados and grapefruit aren’t an intuitive combination.  But I think it’s the simplicity of the salad that made my eyes glaze over it.  Avocados, grapefruit and a vinaigrette. A tiny photo at the side.  Most days I’ve just turned the page.

But this week I was having lunch by myself and felt like eating something that I could whip up in a few minutes.  Something that would let the natural ingredients of the flavours shine through.  Something that the rest of my family would never eat.

It’s true:  I wouldn't serve this salad to the rest of my family.  Andrew has shunned avocados since an unfortunate encounter with one in (appropriately) Paris, and the girls have taken their father’s side on this issue.

But for me?  I'll make this simple, and delicious, recipe again and again.

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil
3 ripe avocados
3 large red grapefruits

Place the mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.

Before serving, cut the avocados in half, remove the seeds and carefully peel off the skin.  Dip each avocado half in the vinaigrette to prevent it from turning brown.  Use a large sharp knife to slice the peel off each grapefruit (be sure to remove all the white pith) then cut between the membranes to release the grapefruit segments.

Arrange the grapefruit segments on four small plates.  Cut the avocados in wedges and arrange them with the grapefruit.  Spoon a little vinaigrette on top and serve.

35 comments:

Rita said...

What a lovely combiantion; pink graperfruit and the lovely avocado; looks perfect Beth.
Rita

allieksmith said...

Simple recipes are the best!

Valerie said...

Beautiful! How could such a colourful salad not be delicious?

I'm kind of curious about that unfortunate encounter with an avocado?! :D

Allison said...

I would never think to pair them together. I must have also passed this by. I need to try it. Simplicity is great.

Monet said...

I'm a grapefruit girl...and we always are happy when we serve avocados. This simple salad looks perfect, my friend. I hope you are having a restful and happy Sunday. I'm just pulling out a batch of banana bread. Thank you for sharing with me!

Angie's Recipes said...

You have just paired two of my favourite ingredients in this simple yet very delectable dish!

Cindy said...

But my hubby would love this combination! This is just the kind of food he loves. It does look refreshing. Glad you spoiled yourself!

Heather said...

I adore avocados, but I'm not too sure I would love them paired with grapefruit. They certainly look beautiful on the plate together. By the way, love your new header!

Jess said...

I enjoyed a plate of avocado and tomatoes just a couple of days ago and it was delicious :)

You're right~ this isn't a pairing I would have thought of, but I love both elements, so I'll have to give it a try while it's still summer!

Claudia said...

You know - when the vegetables and fruits are harvest-fresh - you just don't need much to enhance it - nature did all the work. This plate just says it all - it invites.

Sue said...

I've been known to cut up an avocado, add a little salt and eat it as a yummy snack. This sounds like an interesting combo that I'd love to try as a more sophisticated snack:)

Raina said...

Funny how we sometimes do not take notice of a recipe. I have done that many times only to find later that I wish I had been making the recipe all along. This sounds so interesting and delicious:)

The Golden Eagle said...

It looks good! :) I like avocado, though I haven't had it in a while; thanks for the recipe!

Janet Johnson said...

It looks beautiful! And I love the idea of simplicity. Sometimes it's what we really need. :)

Lizzy said...

Simplicity at its best...truly delicious!

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

Now that looks like God's gift to man. I just love how in all of Ina's recipes, it has to be "good" olive oil and not just...olive oil.

justine said...

Lovely! I forget about the simple recipes, sometimes ... and they often let us appreciate the season's produce in a way that no other complicated recipe can!

Belinda said...

Hear hear to simplicity! Especially in the summer, these are definitely my sort of cooking.

lapetitepancake said...

I saw the episode where Ina makes this and I was terrified. The idea of watermelon mixed with anything, but watermelon is completely foreign to me. I'm glad I *know* someone who approves this recipe. I might just have to try it, especially because I LOVE avocados.

jillbert said...

I would never think to put the two together, but that looks so lovely and actually sounds pretty tasty! I LOVE avocados!

Joanne said...

Intense citrus heaven with fatty avocado to cut it...it actually does make a lot of sense to me!

shaz said...

I love avocados but grapefruit are not something I eat very often at all. Must try this combination, sounds gorgeous and perfect for lunch for one :)

Barbara Kloss said...

Oh, this looks WONDERFUL! And I love avocados...

Pam said...

Simple recipes are the best!

Caryn said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm not a fan of grapefruit and avocados are just okay, but my husband would LOVE this. I'll have to pass it on to him.

Barefeet In The Kitchen said...

I'm not a fan of avocados, but my husband would probably love this. Isn't it fun to try new flavor pairings and have them work out so well? Way to go!

Medeia Sharif said...

I'm an avocado fanatic, and I never would have thought to eat it with grapefruit. Thanks for sharing.

julie said...

You are so right. Simple is almost always the best! This looks delicious!

Velva said...

Cheers to proving that simple is indeed best. Awesome.

Velva

5 Star Foodie said...

Simple is best for sure! Such a lovely colorful salad!

nancy at good food matters said...

grapefruit--especially the ruby ones--are marvelous with avocado. every aspect contrasts in complementary fashion--texture, color, and bite. a great reminder!

Dulce Dough said...

Beautiful and such an interesting combo! I love simple recipes.

Sweet And Crumby said...

Oh yes, this would be a lovely lunch for one...me!

Ashlea Taylor said...

Yep, simple recipes are the absolute best and this looks so refreshing and delicious!

Cassie @ Bake Your Day said...

What a great combination, Beth. I wouldn't have thought of it but I would love it, I'm sure!

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