Monday, November 29, 2010

Avocado Salad with Citrus Viniagrette

Avocado Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Hi everyone! So this past week I was fortunate enough to have my entire family here in San Sebastián visiting me for Thanksgiving, and all the eating and site seeing cut into my blog time a bit.  I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving filled with much turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.  My family and I enjoyed a large plate of traditional spanish ham, a large tortilla de balacao or spanish omelette with salt cod, a steaming pot of fabana or bean soup, and topped it all of with an apple tart with rosemary whipped cream and vanilla gelato yummmmm.  Not the most traditional Thanksgiving I'll ever have but certainly a memorable one.  

However, all of the ridiculously rich spanish delicacies I ate over the past week made me feel just a teensy bit guilty... so here I am with Cook. Eat. Enjoy. Repeat.'s first ever salad! I don't know how they do it but the grocery store below us always seems to have ripe avocados, so I figured I'd take advantage of those.  And with one orange and a few strategically placed cherry tomatoes this salad is light and delicious!  I am of the Ina Garten school of thought that nothing used to garnish a plate should ever be inedible, thus, the tomatoes add another juicy element to the salad.

1/2 avocado
1/2 orange
1 tsp orange zest
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Cherry tomatoes to garnish

Using a fine cheese grater, or zester if you have one, zest the skin of the orange into a small bowl until you have 1 tsp of zest.  Only zest the outer most layer of skin because the white pith beneath it is bitter.  Orange zest smells just as good as freshly squeezed orange juice and adds color, flavor and fragrance to the dressing.  Next, thinly slice the top and bottom off of the orange so that it can stand upright. Balance the orange on one of the flat sides and use a knife to cut the rest of the skin off.  Once all you have left is the juicy center, use the same knife to cut the sections out of the orange and set the sections aside.  Squeeze what remains of the orange into the small bowl with the orange zest.  Make sure you don't get any seeds in there! Add the olive oil to the bowl, season with salt and pepper, and mix with a spoon.

Next, slice the avocado length-wise around the pit. Using good old fashioned elbow grease, twist each half of the avocado in opposite directions and pull them apart.  The pit will most likely still be stuck to one of the halves, in which case you should take a knife and whack it into the pit with a decent amount of force and twist until the pit pops out.  If the pit popped out after separating the avocado halves, lucky you. At this point, I find it easier to cut the avocado halves into thin slices and then remove the skin, otherwise you may leave some of the avocado behind if you remove it with a spoon first.  Once the avocados are sliced, remove the skin from each section and arrange on a plate or in a bowl with the orange slices.  Spoon the vinaigrette over the salad and enjoy!

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