I have such fond memories of this salad. My grandmother has been making this salad as a side for our family Christmas every year since I can remember. As a kid I don’t think I appreciated the culmination of textures and citrus flavors that excite your tastebuds, but as a young adult and into my twenties I have looked forward every year to this Grapefruit + Avocado Salad. The pairing of the tangy tart grapefruit and the sweet citrusy oranges with the sweet and spicy riff on a french dressing make this salad complex yet simple. It’s bright, beautiful, and oh so delicious.
While the ingredients themselves are great, the dressing really adds the surprise element to this salad. I had to ask my grandmother for the dressing recipe one holiday because I just could not go an entire year until I had this salad again. In perfect grandmother fashion, she walked over to her recipe box, flipped through the rolodex of recipes and pulled out a hand written notecard. I had to attach the very poor quality picture I took of the recipe just because of the authenticity and nostalgia it holds.
Upon further research of the recipe, Mrs. McAfee was a nice southern lady from Macon, GA who ran the kitchen at the Sydney Lanier Cottage. If you are un familiar with Sydney Lanier, he was a poet from Macon and has many famous poems. His childhood home, in historic downtown Macon, was made into a museum of sorts. Mrs. McAfee would host tea for garden parties or private events back in the day, and apparently she made this amazing citrus salad with a “French” dressing. It’s all very southern and somehow my grandmother got a hold of the dressing recipe. While Gran has since changed the salad and made it her own, I love the history behind this twist on traditional French dressing and am so happy to share it with you.
I know, I know, I usually don’t love French dressing either, but this is not your typical recipe. French dressing gained popularity in the 1950’s and is known for it’s sweet and tangy flavors. It is traditionally made with oil, vinegar, ketchup and paprika. This recipe subs ketchup with chili sauce! Along with a little lemon, sugar, salt and pepper this dressing is little tangy, sweet and just the right amount of spice. Enjoy!