Succulent shrimp, tender avocado. Crisp hearts of palm. Sweet, soft grapefruits and crunchy, salty Marcona almonds. You will love this salad because it’s:
and most of all, nutritious.
I first had this salad a few weeks ago. We were visiting friends in my hometown of Solana Beach and we headed over to the Beach Grass Café for brunch. It immediately caught my eye, as it contains so many interesting flavors and healthy foods together.
Don’t think any of these ingredients are exotic-you can actually find all of them in Costco, and probably in your local supermarket too. And if not, a you can easily substitute a few of the ingredients for something else.
You can sub regular almonds for Marcona almonds. To speed things up, you can use precut grapefruit sections, or orange or mandarin orange sections if you’re not a fan of or can’t find grapefruits. You can use pre cooked shrimp if you don’t want to prepare the shrimp yourself. But I can’t give you any options for the hearts of palm-they stand alone in their uniqueness.
Take a simple green salad to new heights with this recipe. Hearts of palm are one of the magic touches, and using hearts of palm is so easy.
But first, just what are hearts of palm? Hearts of palm are harvested from the inner core and bud of a type of palm tree that grows in the tropics. They are mild in flavor, slightly firm, edging on crispy but still tender. With a slightly nutty, neutral flavor, you can combine them easily with acidic flavors (citrus works really well), chop up for a garnish, or mix them with saltier flavored items like olives, capers, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Hearts of palm come canned or in jars, preserved in water with a touch of citric acid. To prepare, remove one of the hearts, which are about as big in diameter as a broomstick. They are usually in pieces 4″ to 5″ long. Cut crosswise about 3/8″ to 1/4″ thick, or on a slight angle for bigger pieces.
Avocados add some creamy texture. Loaded with healthy fat, fiber, vitamin C and E and other nutrients, they pack nutrition in and help fill you up.
Marcona almonds are loaded in calcium, iron, and magnesium, and add a sweet and salty crunch. Marcona almonds are also known as the “queen of almonds” and come from Spain. If you don’t want to use Marcona almonds, you can substitute regular almonds if you like.
Finally, add a moist and juicy element to the salads with sweet and succulent grapefruit sections. And be sure to save any juice you gather to use in the vinaigrette.
To prep the grapefruit, you’re going to use a French technique you may already be familiar with, called “Peler a Vif.” This simply means peeling off the zest and pith of the fruit by cutting along its curve.
First, you cut the top and bottom off of the grapefruit (the same can be done with an orange or any other citrus fruit). Save these. Then, as you cut from top to bottom, follow the curve of the fruit erring on the side of going in deep so that you’re sure to remove all the peel and pith. Save your cut peels as they’re sure to have some fruit left adhering to them-and you can squeeze these later for juice.
Once you have the peeled grapefruit, cut inward between membranes to remove the citrus segments. Hold these until you’re ready to make the salad.
The vinaigrette here doesn’t follow the standard ratio of 3:1 of oil to vinegar. It’s more like a 1:1 ratio, but instead of vinegar you’ll use mostly grapefruit juice left over from the peeled grapefruits. So the acidity is way down and the sweetness is up. For more on how to make a proper vinaigrette please check out Salad Dressing-Reinvented.
You won’t want to serve this salad as just a side dish-it’s that good. With the shrimp and avocado to fill you up, make a meal out of it. It’s perfect for brunch, lunch or dinner. Delicious with some crusty bread or slices of warm pita, you get all the nutrition you need on just one plate.
If you love salads, try this one and then check out our Jicama Salad with Orange and Cucumber and Chile Lime Dressing or our Mexican Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Zesty Lime Vinaigrette.
- 1 pound shrimp cooked medium
- 2 whole grapefruit peeled and sectioned
- 1 cup hearts of palm sliced in 3/8" slices
- 1 whole avocado quartered and sliced
- 1/2 cup marcona almonds
- 2 heads butter lettuce leaves torn or cut
- 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 tablespoon shallots finely chopped
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- If using whole cooked shrimp, thaw and set aside. Proceed to step 3. If cooking whole shrimp, thaw entirely, pat dry with paper towel and proceed to next step.
- Heat a saute pan to medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons oil. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and add enough shrimp to cover bottom of pan without crowding. Cook until pink on one side 2-3 minutes, turn and cook on other side for a total of 4-5 minutes. Cook additional shrimp in batches if needed. Allow to cool.
- Combine shrimp, hearts of palm, almonds, grapefruit sections and butter lettuce.
- Pour dressing over and toss, add avocado slices on top for garnish.
- Combine grapefruit juice, red wine vinegar, mustard, shallots in a stainless steel bowl.
- While whisking, slowly drizzle in extra virgin olive oil.
- Just before serving, whisk thoroughly and pour over salad.
If you make this recipe, be sure to tag your photo #thestraightdish on Instagram and share on Pinterest! Thanks for reading.