The Surprise of Roasted Citrus and Avocado Salad
Something miraculous happens when you roast thin slices of lemons and oranges at high heat.
They get all jammy, intensifying their sweetness and taming the overt bitterness of their rind.
I’ve added plenty of orange supremes — juicy segments devoid of their pith and membrane — to plenty of salads. But never had I added roasted slices to one before, where the flesh has largely disappeared in the cooking process, leaving behind mostly rind.
Even my husband, who normally blanches at anything remotely very bitter or sour, remarked how wonderfully refreshing this salad was.
A miracle, didn’t I tell you?
“Roasted Citrus and Avocado Salad” is from the new book, “Farmsteads of the California Coast” (Yellow Pear Press), of which I received a review copy. The book was written by Bay Area food writer Sarah Henry, with beautiful photography by Erin Scott of the YummySupper blog.
Whether you live in California or not, this book will make you appreciate the state’s farms even more. Twelve coastal farms are spotlighted with stories about the farmers, including what they grow, which farmers markets sell their wares, and whether there is a farmstand on site that you can visit. The farms span the gamut from Pie Ranch in Pescadero to the Apple Farm in Philo to Hog Island Oyster Company in Marshall.
Additionally, there are 24 short recipes inspired by the farm-grown ingredients such as “Roasted Artichokes with Lemon-Thyme Dipping Sauce” and “Panna Cotta with Strawberries.” In the case of the “Blackberry Pie” recipe, you have to supply your own favorite crust recipe. Same with the “Spiced Pear Jam Cookies,” in which you just use your preferred thumbprint cookie recipe to fill with the given pear jam recipe.
The recipes are by publisher Lisa McGuinness. This salad was inspired by family-owned Hilltop Canyon & Farms in Carpinteria, which specializes in flowers, citrus and avocado (including some from trees that date back seven decades).
For the roasted citrus salad, I used spring mix, which I already had in my fridge, rather than red leaf lettuce, as the recipe calls for. The avocado wedges provide irresistible buttery richness, while red onions and cilantro add a bit of sharpness and brightness.
With prime citrus season in winter, I can’t wait to make this salad again for the holidays, as it would be a perfect addition to the Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve repast.
Of course, we’re lucky enough to be able to get lemons and oranges year-round, which means you can enjoy this salad really any day of the year.
A miracle salad, indeed.
Roasted Citrus and Avocado Salad
(Serves 2 to 4)
1 lemon, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds with seeds removed
1 small orange, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds with seeds removed
1 tablespoon organic coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 head young red leaf lettuce, cleaned and torn into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 avocado, sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
For salad dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch of coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss lemon slices, orange slices, melted coconut oil, and sugar in a bowl until evenly coated. Transfer the lemon and orange slices onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake (turning after 7 minutes) until the rind and pulp are lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the pan immediately and let cool.
Combine salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until creamy.
Place cooled lemons and oranges in a bowl with lettuce, onion, chopped cilantro, and avocado wedges. Drizzle on the salad dressing and gently toss to coat, being careful not to mash the avocado.
From “Farmsteads of the California Coast” by Sarah Henry and Erin Scott
More Orange Recipes to Revel In: Coffee-Orange Angel Food Cake
And: Cold Candied Oranges
Plus Another Erin Scott Recipe to Enjoy: Brown Butter Almond Tea Cakes with Nectarine Slivers or Fig Halves