This salad is a re-creation of a similar one that I enjoyed at the Fremont Diner in Sonoma, CA. I am completely in love with the avocado dressing for this recipe; it's naturally creamy without the addition of mayo or something of the sort. And grapefruit, well, I never thought I'd be one to eat it without a pile of sugar on top, or in a [lettuce-based] salad, with bacon no less. (I guess I'm growing up.) It turns out to be a delightful citrus pairing with the avocado, and a nice change of pace from the usual lime. Do I even need to talk about the bacon? For a vegetarian version, I think a finishing sprinkle of Maldon Smoked Sea Salt would give it the little bit of smokey pizzaz that the bacon adds — to be clear, this is just an untested theory. Hopefully you enjoy this salad as much as I do — it tastes like summer on a plate, but is perfect year-round. —a sage amalgam
4 side salads
Red Wine Vinegar
heads (about 1/2 pound washed and trimmed or 16 loosely-packed cups) Lettuce, tear into bite-size pieces
slices (about 1/4 pound) thick-cut Bacon, cook until crisp and cut into 1/2" strips
SUPREME GRAPEFRUIT AND JUICE SCRAPS:
If you already know how to supreme citrus, feel free to skip over these instructions. Just make sure to reserve 2 tablespoons of the juice (squeeze the scraps) for the dressing. For a visual how-to, please see my flicker photostream, start here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/heathersage/5867264872/in/photostream.
Wash grapefruit with hot, soapy water and dry. With a sharp knife (I love my Global GS-5 for this, and most, tasks, though a paring knife works well, too), cut off both ends, slicing only until you hit the fruit; place on one of its ends so it's nice and non-rolly. Following the curve of the fruit, carefully slice off the peel, leaving none of the bitter pith behind. Pick up grapefruit and carefully cut out the segments by cutting on either side of the membrane separating them. (Don't stress if there seems to be a lot of fruit left behind, attached to the membrane. It's not a waste since you'll juice that part for use in the dressing and to prevent the avocado from turning brown.)
Squeeze the juice from the fan-like membrane with some fruit attached (read: the scraps), and strain using a fine mesh sieve. Reserve 2 tablespoons (28 grams) for the dressing and use any remaining to toss with the cubed avocados (next step).
Do Ahead: These steps can be done the day before you make the salad. Refrigerate grapefruit segments tightly wrapped in a bowl. Store juice in a separate container, stir well before using.
Cube avocado(s) into 1/2" pieces, coat with any remaining grapefruit juice to prevent browning. Mince enough shallot to yield 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams); finely slice the remainder into rings using a mandolin or knife (or finely chop, your call!).
In a small bowl (1 quart) smash enough avocado with a fork to yield 1/4 cup (56 grams or about 1/4 of a large avocado). Stir in reserved 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice and red wine vinegar, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in olive oil until fully emulsified. Stir in minced shallot and check for seasoning; set aside. (Yields 1/2 cup Dressing)
Do Ahead: Vinaigrette can be made a day ahead of time, store tightly wrapped in the fridge. Allow it to come to room temp for about 15 minutes (olive oil solidifies under refrigeration) and whisk well before serving.
In a large bowl, toss together dressing and lettuce; divide between four plates. Scatter grapefruit segments, bacon, remaining avocado and some sliced shallot equally over the top. Serve immediately with freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkle of salt.