Friday, January 20, 2012

Avocado Grapefruit Salad

Two months pregnant with my first child I began nearly every day with a visit to the bathroom to empty the contents of my stomach. Everything made me nauseated. I didn't eat a lot of food for a few months there. I tried and failed to put lots of foods down the hatch. But almost as many went down, also came up. My desire to try again plummeted with each botched attempt. I didn't want to eat noodles, when noodles had not stayed put, anything made with anything processed was flat out rejected, even recall one weary evening when I couldn't sleep, knowing the watermelon I had just eaten wanted out before I could rest. Food and I were not friends. How could this baby that seemed to demand so much of my energy and sustenance, result in me being scarcely able to get any for myself? Frustration was not a strong enough word. 

But there was one food, I could always count on. One food that I never threw up. The cool, soothing smell of grapefruit exploded my heightened senses, quelling my nausea and providing me a welcome spell of relief. Grapefruit was my superfood and often my only food. I'd jokingly laugh that this baby had put me on the grapefruit diet. It often all I could eat, and all I wanted to. But we were not in citrus country, and grapefruits were not cheap and I would hoard those expensive fruits. I'm not sure that I offered any of them to my husband during those few months. He never got to find out what he was missing.

Years later, with two healthy kids, made possible my grapefruit, (I had the same grapefruit desire with the second pregnancy as well), we headed from our home in San Francisco down to South Padre Island, TX to spend the holidays on the beach with my family. Along the way the spotted countless stands and pick up trucks selling ten pound mesh bags of citrus fruit fresh from the orchards of South Texas.  My dad pulled over and purchased a few. Not that I am in the least bit partial, there is only one grapefruit that rules supreme, the Rio Red of Texas. It is the sweetest, most brilliant grapefruit of them all. As we greedily ate that grapefruit, my husband realized what I had been missing. And why I had been paying twice as much for Texas grapefruit instead of the sour white fruits at half the price when I could eat nothing else. I had full access to as many white grapefruits as I could eat from my in-laws backyard tree one hour north of our home, but still I wasn't sated. I craved the Texas citrus I had spoiled with growing up down south. When grapefruit is that good, it is hard to settle for something by the same name and so decidedly less enticing. 

So when the grapefruits started showing up at my Texas farmer's market this fall, I was giddy. I felt like Texas was saying, welcome home, Sandra. This may not be the the lush land of strawberries and artichokes I knew in San Francisco, or the berries and apples that had my heart enraptured and  in Maryland, but we have your the thing you long for most. And while this month marks one year we are still waiting to have another child, and it is still not happening, I feel a bit of comfort knowing that the right grapefruit will be here, and in abundance when I need it again. 

This is the salad I make most often with my grapefruits. The rio reds are so juicy and delicious you don't need much else in the way of dressing, just a good quality olive oil. Pick thing bright and peppery, it will shine when paired with a perfect grapefruit and a creamy avocado. You can skip the greens entirely here and this still works, but I put this most often with baby spinach; shaved fennel, watercress, arugula, and butter lettuce are also fantastic directions to go with this.

Grapefruit Avocado Salad
serves 4 

1 large Rio Red grapefruit
1 large avocado
2 large handfuls of spinach or greens
2 T. olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Place greens in a bowl and toss with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and a few grinds of pepper.
Cut grapefruit into supremes by cutting off all of the peel and pith with a knife. Then cut each section of grapefruit away from the membranes. Put in the bowl with the greens.
Cut avocado in half, remove the pit and slice while in peel. Use a spoon to remove slices. Add to the salad bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Squeeze the remains of the grapefruit over the salad, and toss gently to coat. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.


  1. Sounds yummy! Now all I need are some of those Rio Red grapefruits from Texas! Want to send me some!

  2. They aren't too hard to find- I've even seen them at Costco, Jenni.


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