It’s been another week of firsts: I hosted my first seder and dinner party in the new home, and I took my first hike in the jaw-droopingly beautiful Red Rock Canyon Park, a mere ten minute drive from my front door. All this newness—not just the meals and the hikes, but the new geography, new routines, new grocery stores, new commutes—it’s all at once invigorating and exhausting. I arrive at the end of each day completely spent. I sleep deeply and wake up in a half haze, mind still sloshing around in dreamworld.
As discombobulated as my days may feel, cooking for friends will always reorient me. Our Passover seder was deeply nourishing, filled with sweet conversation and delicious, mostly vegan food (it was the easiest way to accommodate everyone’s dietary preferences and allergies). I made Sherrie Castellano’s Spring Allium Soup, this vibrant citrus avocado salad, and a hearty main of fennel, coriander, and cumin-roasted carrots topped with black lentils and a riot of fresh herbs, sheep’s milk feta and labneh optional. Wendy and Keith brought wine and an alabaster tea-light holder from Egypt (very on-brand for Passover), and Lindsay and Daniel arrived with a tray full of luscious vegan donuts (decidedly not K for P, but we were all just fine with that).
Moreover, it was the boys’ first Passover. There was a sweet novelty in sharing this tradition that us Jewesses grew up immersed in with a deeply curious audience. Their willing openness to learn brought the Haggadah to life—or at least illuminated the nuances of the very New Wave Haggadah we were using, highly curated and pared down by my brilliant friend Gabby. Everyone put in a special request for this salad recipe, and here we are.
CITRUS AVOCADO SALAD WITH BLACK PEPPER ALMONDS.
A vibrant salad loaded with a mix of fresh winter citrus, avocado, little gem lettuce, and quick-pickled shallots, finished with honey and fennel black pepper almonds.
Black Pepper Almonds
- 1/2 cup whole, unsalted raw almonds, coarsely chopped
- 2 1/2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
CITRUS AVOCADO SALAD
- 1 medium pink grapefruit, pith removed, cut into sections between membranes
- 1 medium white grapefruit, pro blanco, or pomelo, pith removed, cut into sections between membranes
- 1 tangerine, peeled and cut into circular slices 1/8″ thick
- 1 cara cara (or other) orange, pith removed and cut into circular slices 1/8″ thick
- few handfuls little gem lettuce leaves
- 1 small-medium avocado, halved and sliced
- 1/3 cup Quick-Pickled Shallots
- olive oil to taste
- flaky sea salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons citrus juice saved from peeling and slicing
- 2 tablespoons brine from Quick-Pickled Shallots (above)
- 1/2 cup black pepper almonds, from above
Make the Black Pepper Almonds.
Place all ingredients in a small frying pan over medium heat. Stir to combine—the honey will melt as it heats up. Continue stirring until ingredients are evenly distributed and almonds are thoroughly coated.
Allow almonds to cook in an even layer, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes. Once they turn golden brown at the edges, remove from heat. Transfer immediately to a plate and spread them in an even layer to cool.
Make the Citrus Avocado Salad.
Arrange the citrus on a medium-sized serving tray or large plate (mine was 12″ in diameter). Citrus should be mostly in a single layer, with some areas of overlap.
Tuck lettuce leaves into the citrus in several areas around the board.
Add avocado slices and Quick-Pickled Shallots.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
In a small jar, mix 2 tablespoons of reserved citrus juice with 2 tablespoons of brine from the Quick-Pickled Shallots. Spoon over the salad.
Finish with the black pepper almonds, and serve immediately.
Find complete recipe here