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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

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

Ingredients:
Dressing
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
Salad
2 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned into cubes
1 avocado, peeled and cut into cubes
4 cups trimmed watercress

Directions:

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

70 comments :

Lucie said...

I'm inexplicably attracted to anything poppy seed, and this is no exception! Looks great, Mary!

Jay said...

interesting new recipe.

Plz collect your Award from my blog.

Sanyukta Gour(Bayes) said...

lovely flavors in salad...looks so tempting n yum...mouthwatering n refreshing..

alwayswinner786 said...

I love the taste of grape fruit! Poppy seed dressing is also very interesting, I think the dish is simply hard to resist!

Sanjeeta kk said...

Healthy and refreshing treat! Nice to be here. Best wishes.

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

Healthy, beautiful and nice click!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I love grapefruit and I love avocado but I have never tried them together. Diane

Ana Powell said...

Poppy seed dressing, so pretty and so flavoursome ♥

Sushma Mallya said...

wow thats a beautiful salad and i loved the dressing as well..

chriesi said...

What a great looking dressing in a lovely bottle!

From the Kitchen said...

The salad is refreshingly beautiful. One of my mother's favorite meals to serve her mah jong ladies was chicken divan accompanied by a citrus salad with poppyseed dressing. I wonder if she used Helen's recipe? On a day when I have waxed nostalgic, you've deliciously added to it.

Best,
Bonnie

Sage said...

Thank you Mary! looks good.
rita

Ciao Chow Linda said...

What a refreshing salad for these hot summer days. I'll have to try that dressing with it too - so unusuald

Eliana said...

This looks like such a comforting salad. I especially love the playfulness of the poppy seeds in the dressing.

jelena said...

poppy seeds in a dressing...genius.......never saw that anywhere.......a fantastic combination!

Martha said...

Salad looks good -- I have a good poppy seed dressing but will try this sometime. And I do have to try this salad sometime, too -- with the dressing.

Helen Corbit is a legend -- her ham loaf is one of the recipes we have made frequently at Linderhof (although not in a while) and I do or did have a couple of her cookbooks.

tatabonita said...

It's so refreshing... Love to have a portion, please... :D

ann said...

This always takes me back to a family Sunday meal. Yum.

12th Man Training Table said...

Great looking dressing. Did you catch this week's Spilled Milk podcast? All about salad dressings. Funny stuff ... they're the foodie version of Car Talk. Cheers!

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

While I was visiting the girls in Chicago, they made a cantaloupe/advocado salad that was delicious.

I can't wait to try this one, too.

Your background stories are always so fun to read.

fondly,
Glenda

Allie and Pattie said...

Mary, this looks like a lovely summer salad. I think I actually have all the components. I'll have to see if I can find one of her book- a fascinating story
xoxo Pattie

lostpastremembered said...

Thanks for sharing the story about Helen...I never knew about her... and I do so love poppyseed dressing.. it's an old fashioned wonder. Thanks, Mary

Terrell said...

Mary, Thanks for visiting my blog theother day and also for sharing this recipe. One of the reasons I love food is because of the emotions it invokes. This recipe immediately brought me back to my grandmother's table where we would often have this salad. I had forgotten about the allure of this flavor combo, and can't wait to try it again. thanks for the trip down memory lane.

cookies and cups said...

What a gorgeous salad! Love poppy seeds, except for having to crazy-floss after :)

Jenn said...

Another beautiful salad you created! This sounds wonderful. Very fresh and light..perfect summer salad!

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE said...

What bright and soothing flavors! Great idea!

Cathy said...

What a lovely salad. I love all the flavors you've combined here. Perfect for summertime.

JG said...

On a humid day this salad would be so refreshing! It's also very colorful.

~Judy

Angie's Recipes said...

Love the salad, esp. your poppy dressing!

Susi said...

Wonderful summer salad, I love anything with avocado!

What's next said...

Looks wonderful, love poppy seed dressing. I've read about her and will look at your link...

lindaraxa said...

When I saw this post, BEFORE I even read it, the first thing that came to mind was Neiman Marcus. I am so glad you have posted it for I have lost my recipe and have been looking forever. Didn't know HC was behind it, guess I'll just have to get another cookbook!

Pacheco Patty said...

This looks yummy, I have all the ingredients for this in my kitchen. As I was going to be good this week and start my day with grapefruit but your poppy seed dressing looks very good:-)

Jeannie said...

I am not a salad person, but this has fruits in it so I'll probably eat them all up, especially with such an unusual salad dressing. So prettily arranged too.

Joe Ambrosino said...

It looks beautiful, Mary.I would love it, but I can't get my wife to eat any fruit she deems "sour", like grapefruit.

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

This looks wonderful. Can't wait to try it.

Carmen

grania said...

oh, this reminds me so much of a recipe my uncle, who used to be a chef, used to prepare. absolutely gorgeous, and such a lovely combination of flavours.

James said...

What a delicious summer salad. I love grapefruit in my salads.

Katherine Aucoin said...

Grapefruit and avocade, what a great combination for a salad. I've been on the hunt for a good poppy seed dressing and can't wait to take yours for a spin!

Biren said...

Poppy seed dressing is my of my favorites. I'll have to give this a try. The salad looks really refreshing and eye catching!

Clare Dygert said...

My mom used to take me to the Little Mermaid Bar at the Highland Park Neiman Marcus. They served a chicken salad sandwich with two slices of bacon on a cheese roll with fresh fruit salad and poppy seed dressing. Heavenly!

Mimi said...

Such a refreshing and colorful salad.
Mimi

Michael Toa said...

I eat anything avocado. YUM. My new year resolution this year was to eat more avocado.
The dressing looks fantastic. I really like the colour. Have a great day Mary.

The Good Cook said...

Helen Corbitt was a genius of her time and many chef's of today owe some interesting flavor profiles to her ingenuity.

This salad is one of my favorite dishes and now, because of you I have a good poppy seed dressing recipe. Thanks!

The Blonde Duck said...

Going to google cowboy caviar now.

foodies at home said...

This dressing looks so interesting and tasty! I can't wait to try!

Katerina said...

I don't know about the dressing but the salad look gorgeous as it is. So beautiful colors!

We Are Not Martha said...

I absolutely love grapefruit, but have never thought to pair it with avocado. What an awesome idea!! And the poppy seed dressing sounds fabulous as well :)

Sues

Ginny said...

This is the prettiest salad I've ever seen, almost too pretty to eat! Oh, the dressing recipe looks so good, and I love to make my own dressings! I'm unable to eat poppy seeds, though. But I will try it without them, I'm thinking it will still taste almost good

Kim said...

I've never heard of Helen Corbitt before and was interested while reading about her. Poppyseed dressing is perfect for a simple salad of grapefruit and avocado. It looks gorgeous!

Monet said...

As a Texas native, I'm familiar with Ms. Corbitt, and I'm excited to have another recipe inspired by her. I can only imagine how great this combination must be...the creamy avocado paired with the tangy grapefruit. Yum!

Devaki said...

I LOVE this mary - the poppy seed dressing is delightful but also the combination of watermelon and avocado which is oh so clever!

Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

PranisKitchen said...

the poppy seed dressing is simply superb.. with that dressing the fruits taste really yumm .. nice and healthy salad

Adelina said...

captivating behind-the-scene story and certainly very interesting recipe- poppy seeds not just for baking!!!

Cheryl said...

My gosh that looks amazing, two of my most favorite foods!

Linda Starr said...

I love grapefruit and avocado and poppy seeds, this sound so refreshing and so unusual, I really need to make this one.

marla {family fresh cooking} said...

This poppyseed dressing sounds so special. I never make it but you have inspired me to do so. Lovely with the grapefruit and avocado.

Annie said...

Beautiful salad so colorful and the dressing seems delicious.
Have a nice day

Julie M. said...

How could I have lived in Dallas for 6 years and never try this? It looks absolutely beautiful and I love the combination of flavors. Lovely as always Mary!

Bella said...

This is absolutely gorgeous. I just love the mix of colors. It looks like summer on a plate.

Valérie said...

I love poppy seeds, and I like the visual effect they add to this salad. Thumbs up!

scrambledhenfruit said...

Poppy seed dressing is my favorite, and I'm quite sure I don't have this recipe. I do love avocado but have never thought of pairing it with grapefruit. It sounds refreshing!

Dishesdone said...

That salad looks fantastic, so fresh and so delicious! Have to try this, we love salads!

Sweet and Savory said...

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Couscous & Consciousness said...

Mary, that salad looks beautiful - I love pink grapefruit, especially with avocado, so am really keen to try your poppy seed dressing.
Sue

Celeste said...

Never had grapefruit in a salad before but I'm definitely going to be trying it!

Debinhawaii said...

That dressing looks delicious on it's own but even better on top of that colorful salad. What a great combination of ingredients! ;-)

Salsa Verde said...

It looks so refreshing and the mixture is fantastic!
Love,
Lia.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I am hopelessly behind in reading food blogger recipes, since my work schedule has drastically changed. I'm finally spending a lazy Sunday afternoon visiting my faves. I read the last ten or so of your recipes and drooled over each one. I stopped here the longest. This salad has all of my favorite components. Sold!
You are so talented, Mary.

Embrace Nutrition said...

That recipe sounds great, I will definitely be giving it a try!

www.embracenutrition.blogspot.com

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