By Dave Kidder
Sweet juicy fruits reminiscent of warm sunny days are practically nonexistent during the colder months here in Reno. Hearty, savory vegetables tend to dominate the menus in most restaurants and bistros. But, there is one type of fruit that shines during the deep freeze, and that is citrus. Blood oranges, grapefruits, satsuma mandarins, kumquats, sweet oranges, lemons and limes are all in their peak of ripeness and deliciousness. I primarily use citrus fruits in salads because they lend a sweetness to counter the flavor of savory ingredients such as onions, olives and fennel. A salad of roasted lamb with oranges, olives & fennel or a salad of pan seared salmon filet with grapefruit and avocado are types of menu items featuring citrus fruits here at The Cheese Board. We cut the fruits into sections, or supreme. They add beautiful color and immense sweetness to our dishes. I have included a recipe featuring citrus fruits, so it can be made at home. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to write or call me any time if you have any questions at (775) 323-3115.
CRISPY SEARED SALMON FILET SALAD with GRAPEFRUIT and AVOCADO
(Serves four portions)
-1 pound fresh salmon filet (skin removed)
-4 large handfuls of baby lettuces (mesclun mix)
-2 large ruby red grapefruits
-2 large Haas avocados
-4 ounces feta cheese (crumbled)
-6 ounces pecan halves (toasted)
-1 shallot (finely minced)
-zest and juice of 1 lemon
-1/4 cup sherry vinegar
½ cup canola oil
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
-1 tbsp dijon mustard
Fresh ground black pepper
-Cut fish into four quarter pound filets, season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
-Pre-heat a large non stick sauté pan over medium high heat until just smoking, add enough canola oil to liberally cover the bottom of the pan. Delicately place the fish, seasoned side down in the pan and let it cook for about three minutes. The goal is to get a nice crispy sear on the flesh. Carefully flip salmon in a motion moving away from yourself in order to avoid getting burned by hot spattering oil. Continue cooking for another two minutes, or until desired temperature, remove from pan, let rest on a plate lined with paper towels.
Prepare vinaigrette; in a large mixing bowl, soak the minced shallot in sherry vinegar for fifteen minutes in order to remove the harsh oniony flavor. Add mustard, sugar, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper, blend with a whisk. After all ingredients are incorporated, slowly drizzle oil while whisking. Taste your final product before serving; it may need more salt, pepper, sugar to your desired taste.
Toast pecan halves in 350 degree oven for ten minutes
Crumble feta cheese
Peel and cut avocado into thin wedges, peel and cut grapefruit (removing pith) into sections, or supremes.
Toss baby lettuces in a large salad bowl with a small amount of vinaigrette, you can always add more, but an over dressed salad is not very pleasant.
Place dressed lettuce on plate, arrange grapefruit and avocado around lettuce. Put salmon on top and finish the salad with toasted pecans and crumbled feta cheese.
That’s it. Enjoy!