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Arugula Avocado Salad

Organic Arugula Salad with Tempura Avocado

From: Chef Matt Gordon, Urban Solace, San Diego. Yield: 12 servings.

12 needed, vegetable oil for frying
3 large fresh avocados, 8 oz. each, peeled, pitted and quartered
as needed, kosher salt
24 cups lightly packed arugula
6 grapefruit, peeled, segmented and seeded
1½ cups chopped, toasted almonds
as needed, roasted garlic citrus vinaigrette (recipe follows)
as needed, whipped goat cheese (recipe follows)
as needed, herb salad (recipe follows)
as needed, tempura batter (recipe follows)

Roasted Garlic Citrus Vinaigrette (yields 4 cups):
1¼ cups packed garlic cloves
1 cup canola oil
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup lemon juice
1 orange, zested and juiced
½ Tbsp. lemon zest
½ cup lime juice
¼ cup sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. chopped fines herbes
as needed, salt and ground black pepper

Whipped Goat Cheese (yields 4 cups):
1½ lb. goat cheese, at room temperature 
¾ cup crème fraiche
¼ cup heavy cream
as needed, salt and ground black pepper

Herb Salad (yields 1 cup):
¼ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves
¼ cup fresh dill fronds
¼ cup fresh tarragon leaves
¼ cup fresh chive batons

Tempura Batter (yields 1½ cups):
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. salt
7 oz. soda water

For roasted garlic citrus vinaigrette: Place garlic in a small pot with ½ cup canola oil and ½ cup olive oil and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lower heat to low and cook until garlic is soft and golden brown, about 1 hour. Strain garlic and reserve oil. Cool oil in refrigerator.

In a blender, combine cooked garlic cloves, lemon juice, orange zest and juice, lime juice, sherry vinegar, honey and Dijon mustard. Blend on medium-high until smooth. With blender running, slowly add ½ cup of reserved garlic oil, the remaining ½ cup canola oil and remaining ½ cup olive oil until emulsified. Stir in the fines herbes and season to taste with salt and pepper.

For whipped goat cheese: Place goat cheese, crème fraiche and heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to assemble salads, up to 24 hours in advance.

For herb salad: In a bowl, combine the parsley, dill, tarragon and chives. Reserve for plating.

For tempura batter: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt and soda water until smooth.  

For assembly: In a heavy pot, add oil to a depth of 2” and heat to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with 2 layers of paper towels. Working in batches, dip avocado quarters in the tempura batter and fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet to drain. Sprinkle tops with salt. 

Spread ¼ cup whipped goat cheese on bottom of each of 12 serving plates. In a large bowl, toss half the arugula with half the grapefruit, half the almonds and just enough dressing to coat. Season with salt to taste. Mound the salad onto 6 of the plates. Top each salad with a piece of avocado and garnish with herb salad. Repeat with remaining salad, dressing, avocado and herb salad. Serve immediately.

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