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Avocado-Grapefruit Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

  • SERVINGS: 10
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • VEGETARIAN

George Mahaffey uses crispy fried leeks to garnish his colorful salad; shallots, which don't need to be cleaned and julienned, are an easier alternative. Tart, lightly perfumed pomegranate molasses is available from Middle Eastern grocery stores and by mail-order from Kalustyan (212-685-3451).

  1. 1 quart vegetable oil, for frying
  2. 20 medium shallots (1 1/2 pounds), thinly sliced
  3. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  4. 3 ruby red grapefruits
  5. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses, plus more for drizzling
  7. 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  8. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  9. 16 cups loosely packed baby lettuces, such as arugula, frisée and radicchio
  10. 2 Hass avocados, each cut into 15 wedges
  11. 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, for garnish (optional)
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil to 300° over moderately high heat; alternatively, test the oil by adding a small bread cube—it should turn light brown in 1 minute. Toss the shallots with the flour until completely coated, shaking off the excess. Fry the shallots in batches until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
  2. Using a sharp knife, peel the grapefruits, removing all the bitter white pith. Cut between the membranes to release the sections. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil with the 1/4 cup of pomegranate molasses, the vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the lettuces with 1/3 cup of the dressing and mound them on a large serving platter. Put the avocado wedges and grapefruit sections in the bowl, season with a pinch each of salt and pepper and toss with the remaining dressing. Arrange the fruit over the salad and garnish with the pomegranate seeds. Drizzle a little pomegranate molasses around the edge of the platter and top the salad with the fried shallots.
Make Ahead The fried shallots can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
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