Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Blood Orange and Avocado Salad with Pomegranate Seeds

I saw this recipe on the Oprah website; it was originally a salsa recipe, but I chopped pieces bigger and made it into a salad. The recipe contains a great tip on how to seed a pomegranate while minimizing indelible stains. However, I couldn’t find a pomegranate that week, so I used freeze-dried pomegranate seeds that I soaked in hot water for a few minutes. The avocados I used were just perfect, though! I used half and avocado per serving. And the blood oranges were finally, finally blood red. I’m stubborn and still refuse to measure chopped onion, so I used half a red onion – I think it was a little too much, though maybe if the pieces had been smaller, it would have been better. Also, could you believe that the Italian parsley we had mistakenly bought instead of cilantro hadn’t magically turned into cilantro in the fridge over the course of the week? Crazy, right? So we did without again, but I think arugula would be a good addition to this salad.

I loved this dish, as it was the most colourful salad ever. The Engineer said it was like eating a piece of art. The flavours meshed quite well, and it was a refreshing dish. It’s great as a side dish or as a light lunch with bread and cheese. The yield is about 4 cups, so 4 small servings.

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
1 tsp kosher salt or sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 blood oranges
1 pomegranate
1 large Hass avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into ½-inch pieces
2/3 cup diced red onion
1 jalapeno chili, seeds and ribs removed, minced (optional, I didn’t use it)
2 green onions, including green tops, cut on the diagonal into thin slices
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, salt, and pepper until salt dissolves.

Remove all skin, white pith, and seeds from the oranges, reserving any juice that's squeezed out in the process. Drain juice into a measuring cup and set aside. Cut orange segments into ½-inch pieces and add to bowl containing lime juice. (I left the skinned segments whole, as they weren’t that big.)

To extract the seeds from the pomegranate, cut the fruit into quarters. Submerge the quarters in a large bowl of cold water and place it in the kitchen sink to contain any squirting pomegranate juice. Using your fingers, gently detach the seeds from the membrane and rind. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Discard any pith, drain the water, blot the seeds lightly with paper towels, and add to the bowl with the orange segments.

Add the red onion, jalapeño (if using), green onion and cilantro to the bowl. When ready to serve, add the avocado. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the ingredients together, being careful to not mash them. Add reserved orange juice, 1 Tbsp at a time, until salsa is moist but not soupy. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve at room temperature or cold. The salad can be covered and set aside in the fridge for 1 hour to allow flavors to meld – the red onion and orange juice should keep the avocado from browning too much. Serve at room temperature with tortilla chips.

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