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Use grapefruit in this avocado-goat cheese salad, and in these other recipes

Grapefruit, avocado and pistachio salad. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food and lifestyle editor.
Published Mar. 18

For this time of year, when the weather is a perfect 75 degrees and the nights are longer and lighter, how about a fresh springlike salad?

Grapefruits are in season right now, and I'm thinking of ways to incorporate them into just about every meal.

For this particular recipe, I was inspired, as I often am, by a piece of toast I had at a restaurant recently. It was slathered with avocado, then delicately dotted with orange segments, goat cheese and pistachios. The citrus was such a nice touch, and a punchy contrast to soft goat cheese and slightly salty pistachios.

As good as the bread was, I tried to re-create the same flavors in salad form.

Here, there is no lettuce or other form of green, though you certainly could add a handful or two. But the combination of avocado, goat cheese and pistachios, this time with grapefruit, doesn't need anything more to be a satisfying meal.

A simple homemade dressing really seals the deal. Tartness from lemon juice, acidity from mustard and a touch of sweetness from honey tie what seem to be disparate ingredients together.

And when you're done with this recipe, here are some other ways to enjoy grapefruit.

Grapefruit and gin: Try a simple cocktail that subs grapefruit juice for the more standard lemon juice. Add 2 ounces of gin and 2 ounces of fresh grapefruit juice to a cocktail shaker. Then add ¾ ounce honey and some ice and shake very well. Strain into a glass filled with ice, then top with a couple of ounces of club soda. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.

Roasted grapefruit: Roasting grapefruit brings an entirely new depth to the fruit. To make, cut a grapefruit in half then use knife to loosen all the sections. Cut a small piece off the bottoms of each half so the bottom is flat and can stand up straight. Place the halves upright in a baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons butter, ½ cup brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Divide mixture among tops of grapefruit halves, then broil in oven for about 5 minutes (keep an eye on it), until sugar is bubbly. Remove from oven, let cool, then eat or peel and remove segments and use them in recipes like the one below.

Grapefruit, Avocado and Pistachio Salad

For the salad:

1 medium grapefruit

1 medium avocado

2 ounces goat cheese

½ cup pistachios, shelled

Salt

Pepper

Handful fresh mint, roughly chopped or torn

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

¼ cup olive oil

Make the salad: Cut off both ends of the grapefruit, so you have two flat ends. Stand the grapefruit up on one of the flat ends, then, starting at the top end, run a sharp knife between the pink grapefruit flesh and the peel to remove the peel. Work in sections until grapefruit is peeled.

Then, roughly chop grapefruit into bite-sized chunks. Transfer chunks to a medium bowl, along with any accumulated juices.

Cut avocado in half, remove the pit, then score one half of the avocado with a sharp knife, first vertically down the length of the avocado half, then horizontally, creating cubes. Over the bowl with the grapefruit, squeeze the avocado flesh a bit to loosen cubes off the peel and into the bowl. Repeat with remaining avocado half.

Stir grapefruit and avocado together, then transfer to serving plates or keep it in the bowl. Crumble goat cheese on top, then roughly chop pistachios and scatter on top as well. Season salad with salt and pepper.

Make the dressing: Combine ingredients in a bowl with a lid or a mason jar with a lid. Cover with lid and shake vigorously until well combined. Add as much to salad as you'd like. Garnish with fresh mint and serve.

Serves 2.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times

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