Category Archives: Food & Cooking

Avocado and Citrus Salad with Pecorino Cheese

 

Creamy avocado, crunchy celery and fresh parsley are dressed with citrus vinaigrette and peppery Pecorino cheese. It’s a gorgeous mix of flavors and textures.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice (or regular lemon juice)
  •  1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 head Butter lettuce or red leaf lettuce, or several large handfuls mixed greens
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into very thin half-moons
  • 1 cup loosely packed parsley leaves (the leaves don’t have to be chopped)
  • 3 avocados, halved, pitted and peeled*
  • 1 cup shaved Pecorino cheese (I like Pepato for this salad)

How to Make It

*The easiest way to peel an avocado half is to use a large spoon to gently scoop the flesh out of the skin.  For stunning presentation, keep the flesh whole. Or, if you really prefer, you can cut the avocados into smaller chunks or wedges.

In a small bowl, combine shallot, lemon juice and zest, orange juice and salt. Let stand while you put together the rest of the salad. Then, whisk in olive oil.

If the dressing tastes too tart, add a pinch of sugar.

In a large wide salad bowl, spread out the salad greens. Toss with celery and parsley and most of the dressing. Set avocado halves on top. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the avocados. Sprinkle pecorino cheese on top.

Pecorino Pepato

Pecorino comes form the Italian word pecora, which means “sheep.” Pecorino cheese is any hard Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. There are many different types of Pecorino. In general, Pecorino has a salty, nutty, sometimes pungent or spicy, flavor.

The most well-known Pecorino outside of Italy is probably Pecorino Romano. Other types of Pecorino well worth seeking out include Pecorino Foglie de Noci, Pecorino Oro Antico, Pecorino Ginepro, and Pecorino Pepato.

Pecorino Pepato is a hard sheep’s milk cheese with whole black peppercorns throughout. When you get a bite with peppercorn, it adds a spicy kick to the salty, nutty cheese.

There are also versions of Pepato made in the United States. Bellwether Farms in California makes a peppercorn-studded, raw, semi-soft sheep milk cheese with a crumbly yet creamy consistency. Belgioioso makes a raw, cow’s milk version.

How to Zest a Lemon

The easiest way to zest a lemon is to use a microplane zester. Be careful to only use the yellow part of the peel; the white pith is very bitter. A paring knife can also be used to carefully cut the peel from the lemon. Use the knife to then scrape or cut away any pitch stuck to the peel. Finely chop the peel.