seared sea bass with grapefruit and avocado salad

July 29, 2008


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Endive is an element too often overlooked. I once worked at a restaurant where the chef placed little dollops of curried egg salad on an endive leaf as something of an edible spoon. It was a nice idea, but never one I replicated. Until just a few days ago, I almost always overlooked the little whitish cones sitting in the produce section. I bought one on impulse last Friday before a meal I was making, figuring I would use it to decorate a salad. Or something. Well, it turns out that endive is a delicious addendum to a heap of leaves—and not just for beautifying. I chopped the endive into shreds, discarding the little knob at the end, and mixed it in with some shredded red leaf. It added a bit of fresh flavor (just a tad bitter) and some necessary crunch. I hate when salad leaves are limp, but radicchio is too pungent for me and I can' t eat romaine every day without getting bored. The salad I made, which also contained grapefruit, avocado, pine nuts and goat cheese, needed some help in the consistency department and I' m happy to report that endive was the hero of the hour. Here is a meal that can be ready in about 20 minutes.

Grapefruit, Avocado and Endive Salad:
(for 2)

Whisk ΒΌ c olive oil, 3 tbsp white or red vinegar and 2 tbsp Dijon mustard plus 1tbsp lemon juice in the bottom of a large salad bowl.
Coat chopped lettuce and sliced endive (cut into disks across) in dressing.
Divvy into individual serving bowls

Peel a grapefruit and slice across. Quarter the disks.
Slice a medium avocado and coat with lemon juice (to prevent browning)
Arrange grapefruit and avocado on each plate of salad.
Garnish with goat cheese and pine nuts (toasted if you prefer)

Seared Sea Bass

Coat fish in sea salt and lemon juice—season with herbs to your liking
Heat pan with 1 tbsp olive oil and a generous pad of butter
When fats begin to smoke slightly, add bass to pan, turning after 2 or 3 minutes.
Garnish with fresh lemon slices and serve


In my opinion, a citrus-y white is the best thing to serve with the light fish and grapefruit salad—I am especially fond of Sauvignon Blancs from Marlborough, New Zealand. Some of my favorite vineyards are Oyster Bay and Kim Crawford. You can get nice bottles for $12-$20.


A piece of very dark chocolate (60% cacao or higher) is a nice way to wrap up this dinner, adding some gravitas to the otherwise light menu. But then again, I' m partial to the stuff and can' t finish breakfast without a sliver.

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