This past weekend a friend brought a huge basket of beautiful fresh blackberries for a brunch we were having with a few other friends. They made a gorgeous and dramatic addition to the fruit bowl and, though they’re not in season in our slice of the hemisphere, they were plump, sweet and juicy. So I’m offering a hearty THANK YOU holler to whoever (somewhere out there) is growing these wonderful berries for us to enjoy while the cold winds blow and the days here are dark, damp and dreary.
As I was cleaning up after brunch I noticed, to my great delight, that half of the yummy berries remained in their little plastic basket. They were looking quite lonely and forlorn, but it didn’t take me long to take care of that dilemma, as a beautiful salad idea started swirling in my mind. The next day I ran to the market and picked up a bunch of fresh, bright green arugula and a lovely bag of ruby red grapefruit. There was a red onion in the pantry and a peek in the fridge revealed some yummy leftover roasted chicken. A bag of pecans in the freezer sealed the deal, and that’s when the fun began ……….
I decided to roast the pecans with a bit of butter and a dollop of honey along with curry, coriander and sea salt. They turned out wonderful, though quite addictive; it seems that even in the freezer, they’re still quite tempting. In fact they were so delicious, I featured them in my post on Wednesday, since I felt they could definitely shine on their own. Check it out here ……………. see what I mean?
I wanted the dressing to be bright, fresh and bursting with sweet grapefruit essence. It took some trial and error, but I accomplished this by reducing the grapefruit juice for a more concentrated flavor and adding plenty of grapefruit zest for an extra layer of fresh tastiness.
The rest was simple. I shredded the previously roasted chicken, sliced the onion thin and tossed it all together. This makes a lovely, healthy dinner salad for a week night or a weekend meal for guests. Omit the chicken and you have a perfect side or lunch salad. We loved every bite and will be making this Arugula, Chicken and Blackberry Salad with Honey-Grapefruit Vinaigrette again. I think you’ll want this one in your winter salad collection as well!
- For the Honey-Grapefruit Vinaigrette:
- ¾ cup Ruby Red (or pink) grapefruit juice, from 1 large grapefruit
- zest of 1 Ruby Red (pink) grapefruit
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup honey
- ⅛ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- For the salad:
- 6 ounces arugula (or spinach)
- 1 ½ cups fresh blackberries
- ½ medium red onion, sliced paper thin
- 2 ½ cups shredded roasted chicken, sliced grilled chicken would also be wonderful
- 1 cup Sweet Curried Pecans, see recipe here
- Honey-Grapefruit Vinaigrette
- For the vinaigrette, place grapefruit juice in a small saucepan bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat slightly and simmer until syrupy and reduced to about 2 tablespoons.
- Place reduced juice in a medium size jar with all other ingredients and shake for 1-2 minutes until all ingredients are completely combined. Taste and add a pinch more salt and pepper if needed.
- For the salad, arrange arugula on 4 serving plates. Scatter with the chicken, blackberries and red onion. Drizzle each salad with vinaigrette and scatter with the pecans. Serve immediately. Pass extra dressing at the table.
Serves 4 as a dinner salad or 6 as a side salad (without the chicken)