Saturday, September 28, 2013

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...One of the things for which Helen Corbitt is remembered, is the poppy seed dressing she used to dress the grapefruit and avocado salad served in the Zodiac Room at the Neiman Marcus store in Dallas, Texas. She was an well-educated Irish New Yorker who spent most of her food career in the state of Texas, including 18 years as the majordomo of food services for the Neiman Marcus empire. She was by all accounts a modest, but opinionated woman, who wrote five cookbooks and was the first woman to garner the food service industry's highest accolade, the Golden Plate Award. She fed president's and kings and became a trend setter in the 1950's. While she is credited for many innovations, among them poppy seed dressing and cowboy caviar, she insisted she had not created many of the things attributed to her. She did, however, bring them to everyone's attention and made them popular. You can read more about her here and if you are a collector of cookbooks you can find a collection of her recipes, The Best of Helen Corbitt's Kitchens, here. I am a newcomer to her recipes and I wanted to try the poppy seed dressing she made famous. In order to do that, I had to reconstruct the signature salad that she dressed with it. I wanted to share both with you, as together they make a nice summer salad. The dressing would work well with any citrus salad. Is it as good as they say it is? Probably not, but it's nice to have a dressing for fruit salad handy and this one is easy to make and perfectly serviceable. Here's the recipe.

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing ...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, courtesy of Texas Home Cooking



2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon grated onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons poppy seeds


2 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned into cubes

1 avocado, peeled and cut into cubes

4 cups trimmed watercress


1) To make poppy seed dressing: In a food processor or with a mixer, combine sugar, honey, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, onion, salt and paprika. Pour in oil and continue mixing until dressing is thick. Blend in poppy seeds. Refrigerated dressing will keep for 2 to 3 weeks. If it separates, process or mix again before serving. Yield: 1 cup.

2) To make the salad: Arrange a bed of watercress on each of 4 salad plates. Top with avocado and grapefruit pieces. Drizzle each salad with 1 tablespoon dressing. Makes 4 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:

Endive, Pear and Watercress Salad - One Perfect Bite

Andalusian Salad with Avocados, Oranges and Almonds - One Perfect Bite

Berry Patch Salad - One Perfect Bite

Summer Fruit Salad - The English Kitchen

Citrus Salad - Wine Lady Cooks

Moroccan Fruit Salad - Moroc Mama

Dragon Fruit Salad - Pham Fatale

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