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Wednesday Food: Guest Post From the West Coast

In the midst of a busy week, my sister asked me to step in and provide a guest food post for you this Wednesday. I live in San Diego and work for a large produce company, so naturally she thought I could highlight some of our sensational, seasonal items and provide a little peek at my snow-less winter eats.  My first thought was to brag; to talk about our fantastically orange mandarinquats, our quirky Italian cardone, or our heirloom Laratte French fingerling potatoes.  The more I thought about it, though, the crueler it seemed.  And so perhaps the right thing to do is to tell you about a little salad I’ve been eating quite often around here.

Now, I know you’re all clamoring for cheesy, baked gratins and stewed, hearty beans but really, this salad has it all. It’s crisp from the pickled radish, bright and clean from the citrus, rich from the butter lettuce and avocado without being heavy.  A homemade vinaigrette is the perfect compliment, as you can control the acid and use almost whatever you have in the pantry.  You could also make a number of substitutions, with whatever you can find at the market, though the beauty of this dish is in it’s composition and balance.

And in keeping with Erika’s beer pairing suggestions I think citrus notes in a mild witbier, such as my local Ballast Point Wahoo Wheat, would nicely complement the flavors in this salad.

Avocado and Citrus Salad with Quick-Pickled Radish

serves 2

for the salad

  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 cara cara orange (a pink navel variety; though the classic recipe usually includes grapefruit, any citrus large enough to segment will do)
  • 1 avocado

for the vinaigrette

  • 1 small shallot, finely minced,
  • 2 tbsp champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp whole grain mustard
  • small handful of chopped, fresh herbs (anything or a mix will do)
  • salt/pepper

for the quick-pickled radish

  • 1 black radish (or 3-4 small, red radishes)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed

Do ahead: pickle the radishes, they will need to sit about an hour.  Thinly slice the radish into a bowl, pour over vinegar, salt, sugar and garlic. Stir to combine well and let stand at room temp for an hour, or in the refrigerator overnight.

For the salad: Gently remove the leave of lettuce from the head, whole, rinse them and pat dry well.  Tear into large pieces and set aside in a large bowl.  Segment your citrus: cut off a disc on the stem and bud end, through to the flesh; sit the citrus on a table and run your knife down the sides, just to the flesh; you want to remove all the white pith, then along the segment lines to remove individual sections.  Add them to the bowl with the lettuce. Next, halve the avocado and remove the pit. With your knife, make long slices, through to the skin, then scoop them all out at once with a large spoon and add them to the lettuce and citrus.

For the vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, stir together the minced shallot, vinegar, mustard, honey and herbs. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble the salad: add the lettuce, avocado and citrus to the bowl of vinaigrette. Gently fold to distribute, plate and top with pickled radish slices and a few chopped fresh herbs.

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January 27, 2010 - Posted by | Wednesday Food

6 Comments

  1. Wow, this is great. But won’t the radishes get all soggy?

    Comment by Adam R | January 28, 2010

  2. I’m loving the looks of this recipe. I’m giving this a try on Sunday.

    Comment by Brad Johnson | January 28, 2010

  3. Also, pray tell what a black radish is? Like black garlic?

    Comment by ebolden | January 28, 2010

  4. Looks/sounds Heavenly! Will try.

    Comment by Hillary | January 28, 2010

  5. The radishes, because they’re “quick-pickled” stay pretty crunchy, similar to dill pickles. You could slice them thicker to get a heftier crunch if you prefer.

    Comment by Vanessa | January 28, 2010

  6. Black radishes are just a different variety of the standard small, red radish. They have a ruddy, black skin and can grow to 3 or 4 inches in diameter. They’re quite spicy, so if you prefer something milder, go with a different variety…

    Comment by Vanessa | January 28, 2010


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