I am such a boring salad-maker, and sometimes I forget how amazing salad can be with just a little effort. When I saw this beautiful salad on Joy the Baker, I wanted to eat it immediately. A quick stop at the grocery store, and we were able to find a blood orange and (more surprisingly) ripe avocados. Phil put everything together in just a few minutes.
I loved every bit of this salad! The smooth avocado, the salty cheese, and the acidic oranges. To me, each bite with blood orange was like a burst of vinaigrette. But I noticed Phil quickly ate all of the oranges and then continued with the rest of the salad together. He preferred the oranges on their own, but said he still liked the salad overall. For me, the unsung hero of the salad was the sunflower seeds. I know, right? An ingredient I almost omitted or substituted turned out to add so much texture and toasty flavor. But really, this salad has an ensemble cast of amazing food, and together they can do no wrong. For the rest of the week, I brought versions of this salad to work as lunch, substituting a clementine for the blood orange.
We ate the salad with a demi baguette and olive oil. We go through olive oil like crazy in this household, and I had picked up a $20 bottle on sale a few days earlier. Inspired by this story I heard on public radio, I wanted to do a taste test between the $20 bottle and our usual $7 store brand. (I love taste tests like nobody's business.) I wrote the identity of the oil on the bottom of the little bowl and mixed them up so neither of us knew which was which.
The results of the test were interesting: we could both tell a difference between the two oils, but our conclusions about which was the expensive oil was different! To me, one of the oils was more fruity and flavorful, and fresh tasting, and I called that one the $20 bottle. To Phil, that same oil tasted grassy and less like olives, and he thought it was the store brand. In the big reveal, I was correct about which oil was which (yea!), but we also decided that we didn't prefer either one much more than the other, especially for the price difference.