While the great Arctic mass of frigid air made its way down South, we stayed huddled in the house, in a semi-zombie-hibernation mode. We were not at our best: wearing many layers and lumbering about our humble (and drafty) abode both clumsily and with reluctance. Hunkered over our bowls of oatmeal and potato soup like refugees from the Western Front.
We Nashvillians just don’t do 8 degrees very well.
One evening, though, I made up this cheery cold plate. This combination struck just the right notes—earthy to neutral to floral—-firm to creamy to juicy—vegetable, fruits, greens. Plus, a little dollop of goat cheese.
And color! Pretty winter pastels to brighten the dull gray of January, the dreariest of refugee mindsets. The golden beets lead the way, marvelous ringed discs capturing the light. Add in slices of avocado and ruby grapefruit and the color trio reminds me of sherbet, or some long-ago popsicle blend from the Good Humor man.
This composed salad plate is simple to make, as long as you have the right ingredients on hand: a grapefruit, an avocado, some leafy salad greens, a little goat cheese, and those beets—the only thing you’ll have to cook.
Brush the beets with a little olive oil, loosely wrap in foil and roast in a hot oven for 25-30 minutes. Once, cool enough to handle, the skin should slip off without much trouble.
The Chili-Grapefruit Vinaigrette has just the right fire to wake up the palate. Toast some crusty wheat bread, spread a little chevre, and know that this season moves as quickly as any.
1 Tablespoon Grapefruit Zest
3 Tablespoons Grapefruit Juice
2 teaspoons Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
pinch of salt and sugar to taste
pinch of cayenne
1/2 cup Olive Oil or Walnut Oil
In a small mixing bowl, add zest, juice, chili powder, vinegar, salt and sugar. Cayenne, too, if you like. Whisk together. Continue whisking as you add the oil; it should readily emulsify.
Spoon a little vinaigrette over leafy greens and toss until the greens are lightly coated. Mound onto plates. Add sliced beet, sliced avocado and grapefruit, goat cheese and drizzle these with the dressing too. Enjoy!