six ways to eat a grapefruit
There’s absolutely nothing local about grapefruit, but you know what’s available locally right now? Turnips. There might still be a couple winter squash in my basement, but mostly it’s turnips. I’m not even sure I like turnips, so when a coworker mentioned that her daughter’s school was having a fruit fundraiser I succumbed to the siren song of citrus and ordered twelve pounds of grapefruit. Twelve pounds sounds like a lot of grapefruit, but it’s really not. The fruit was delivered last Friday and when I arrived at work the following Monday eager to chat with my friend and fellow grapefruit enthusiast Katie, she’d nearly run out. “What did you do with them?” I asked, hoping for a brilliant recipe I’d not yet discovered. “I just ate them,” she answered.
Oh. That honestly hadn’t occurred to me.
I started with salmon (also not local) and then moved on to risotto. Neither of them look very pretty, but they both taste damn good. Salmon is one of my favorite foods; I might love it even more than I love crabs, and for a girl raised along the Chesapeake Bay that speaks volumes. This salmon, with its accompanying grapefruit and basil relish, is particularly yummy. The bright zingy-ness of the grapefruit plays off the rich, fatty taste of salmon in a lovely combination of hot and cold. The risotto — which we ate on a different night because, really, let’s not overdo it with the grapefruit — is a pleasantly weird fusion of tart and creamy that’s just fantastic.
Also fantastic: grapefruit and champagne sorbet, made extra-fantastic by the champagne, of course. It’s a dainty little pink-tinged princess of a dessert, sweet and delicately fruity with just a hint of effervescence as it dissolves on your tongue. Naturally it makes for a lovely après-dinner treat, but a spoonful or two while your morning tea steeps is quite invigorating. It’s also delightfully refreshing after a busy day at work, and it’s just the sort of thing to ease a sore throat if you’ve somehow managed to catch a cold despite having recently consumed twelve pounds of vitamin-C-filled grapefruit. Plus when you make it you’re left with more than half a bottle of champagne, which it would be a shame to waste.
As impressed as we were with all of that grapefruity goodness, the highlight of our grapefruit extravaganza was a cake — a moist, delicious, crumbly wonder of a cake drizzled with tangy sweetness. This cake is amazing. Awesome. Ethereal. Delectable. Divine. Really, I’m not sure there are enough adjectives to describe it; I adore this cake. It’s tangy and zingy and slightly sweet, and the grapefruit flavor shines through in a lovely way that’s just a step or two above subtle. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever made, and I’ve made some pretty good stuff.
And honestly, I meant to stop there; I figured we’d just eat the last grapefruit for breakfast. But then the temperature shot way up into the mid-40s (the mid-40s!) and I drove around with the sunroof open, blasting Dashboard Confessional’s “Warmth of the Sand,” thinking about margaritas and barbecues and sunscreen, and feeling downright euphoric. The sand is still blanketed by a thin layer of snow and we’re months away from icy drinks and olive shoulders, but a girl can dream. A girl can also step carefully across the ice still covering her deck to throw a couple shrimp skewers on the grill, then stand quietly in the golden light breathing in the crisp evening air and sighing in contentment. Which is exactly what I did Saturday night, freshly-mixed grapefruit margarita in hand. Then I chopped up half of our last grapefruit, tossed it with some cilantro, avocado and jalapeño, and happily dined in my little land of make-believe summer.
Oven Roasted Salmon with Grapefruit & Basil Relish
from Cook’s Illustrated
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red grapefruit
4-6 c. vegetable or chicken stock
2 T. olive oil or butter, or a combination
1½ c. arborio rice
½ c. white wine
1 t. salt
1 T. butter
½ c. freshly grated parmesan
1) Using a swivel-bladed vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the grapefruit, taking care to peel only the thin outer colored part and not the bitter white pith below. Plunge the strips of zest into boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and cool them, then chop them finely. Set aside.
2) Squeeze the juice from the grapefruit. Combine ½ c. juice with the stock in a medium saucepan, reserving any remaining juice for some other purpose (like cake!), and heat to a simmer.
3) Melt the butter or oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir until coated with butter, then cook for about 3 minutes. Add wine and stir until completely absorbed.
4) Use a ladle or measuring cup to add the warmed stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally until most of the stock has been absorbed. Add additional stock as each new addition is absorbed, stirring frequently but not constantly.
5) Taste the rice after about 20 minutes. When it’s almost al dente (this could take closer to 30 minutes than 20), add the salt and most of the zest along with the last 1/2 cup of stock. Once the stock has been mostly absorbed, remove from heat, add the parmesan and butter, and stir to combine. Garnish with additional zest before serving.
Pink Grapefruit-Champagne Sorbet
from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop
(makes 1 quart)
1 1/3 c. champagne or sparkling wine (prosecco would be especially nice)
1 c. sugar
2½ c. freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice (from about 3 grapefruits)
1) In a medium saucepan, heat about half the champagne with the sugar, stirring frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining champagne and grapefruit juice.
2) Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Mix first five ingredients in a cocktail shaker or mason jar (or whatever). Shake until good and frothy. Rub a lime or grapefruit around the rim of the glass, then dip in salt. Pour liquid into glasses (over more ice if you like), garnish with fruit slices, and enjoy.
Grapefruit & Avocado Salsa
1 t. olive oil
2-3 T. fresh lime or grapefruit juice
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 grapefruit, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
1 orange, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
1 jalapeño, minced
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
¼ t. kosher salt
¼ t. freshly ground pepper
Whisk together olive oil and citrus juice. Combine remaining ingredients in medium bowl and pour juice over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; stir to combine.