Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 172.5 - Blood Orange and Avocado Salad with Cilantro and Pine Nuts

I couldn't sleep at all last night. I was tossin' and turnin', turnin' know the rest, and if you don't, I so just dated myself. Lucky for me however, even in my slumberless fog, the New Yorker Food Issue lay at the ready on my bedside table, beckoning me to give up on sleep and delve into the world of food, literature and art. I submitted and an hour and a half later, I was in deep. After reading a fascinating story about René Redzepi, Chef and owner and world-class forager of Noma, a Copenhagen restaurant twice named the world's best restaurant, I flipped to a story entitled,  Secret Ingredients - Pine Nuts, by Judith Thurman. I was hooked, because to my way of thinking, pine nuts make just about anything better. Humorously written, Thurman who is a staff writer for the New Yorker, divulges that she has been known to sauté a pan of pine nuts before expectant guests come to her home for dinner, " releasing a heavenly aroma that wafts through the house, promoting the illusion that home cooking has recently taken place..." Awesome.

Just a few paragraphs in, Thurman tosses in an idea for a festive, clean dish that offsets rich foods and includes, the secret ingredient: pine nuts. If I tell you that I sat bolt upright, tore the page out of the magazine, got out of bed and tacked it to the grocery list in my kitchen, I would not be lying -- the recipe sounded that simple, that pretty and that good. Returning to bed, I quickly drifted back to sleep, peacefully dreaming about pine nuts - best dream I ever had; well almost, but that's a different blog. Anyway... here's the recipe.  Along with blood oranges (I used naval, because that's all I could find on short notice) and avocado, the salad is topped with Spanish onions sliced paper thin. Thurman offers that should dinners be wary of the aftertaste of raw onions, a small bowl of fennel seeds can be served alongside as a chaser. Finally, she suggests a light vinaigrette made with white wine vinegar, but I made up my own. The salad recipe, however, is hers in entirety.

So, if you want to impress you family and friends this Holiday Season, consider this gorgeous salad that takes no time to make and is a refreshing departure from typical green salads, or God forbid, ambrosia.  Lastly, here's a little avocado trick I read about (I have no idea where). To prevent discoloration: quickly run the cut avocado under cold running water - for some reason (magic?), this stops the fruit from browning.

Tonight, since I'm kind of tired (but well read), my husband and I plan to have this salad with a warm baguette, some good stinky cheese and lots of wine. Done and done. Happy Holidays!

Avocados, sliced oranges and super thinly sliced onions make the salad

The original recipe calls for blood oranges, which would look even better if you can get them

Use fresh, Spanish onions for the best flavor

Should you fear "onion breath", a few anise seeds lend a fresh taste and scent

A light vinaigrette works best - a little coarsely ground mustard

Half a fresh squeezed lime (really compliments the cilantro topping)

Use white wine or white balsamic vinegar for a clean, light vinaigrette

Top salad with onions, finely chopped cilantro and pine nuts - easy, right?

Blood Orange and Avocado Salad with Cilantro and Pine Nuts
(Salad Recipe Courtesy of Judith Thurman, The New Yorker Food Issue, November, 2011)

2 blood oranges (naval are okay), thinly sliced
1 small Spanish onion, sliced paper thin
1 ripe but still firm avocado, sliced
1 bunch baby arugula
finely chopped cilantro
pine nuts

Carefully peel and thinly slice two blood or naval oranges, a small Spanish onion, and the avocado. Alternate orange and avocado slices on a shallow bed of baby arugula. Strew the onion slices on top, then sprinkle with some finely chopped cilantro and pine nuts.

Vinaigrette (Recipe, Courtesy of Me)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 Tbsp. white Modena balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. coarse brown mustard
pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 fresh squeezed lime

Correct seasoning and oil:vinegar ratio to your liking. Whisk all ingredients together, drizzle over salad and serve.

© 2010-2011, What's Cooking in Your World? Sarah Commerford/All Rights Reserved


SimplyMe said...

I don't think I have ever tasted pine nuts. This dish looks so mouth watering.

Young Werther said...

Great looking dish and healthy too!

sadie said...

I'd love to send you some! Email me your address!xox

sadie said...

I'm going to try to get blood oranges and make this again, because I think it would be even prettier!

witchywoman said...

I'm so going to make that salad when blood oranges show up around here in the market! I also like to use blood oranges to make a roasted chicken, so yummy! Thanks for a new recipe!!

Karen said...

just leave out the eyeballs :)

sadie said...

Darn - shoulda added them in for protein!! LOL. xoxo