Be neighborly, enjoy Ruby Red grapefruit

Sherrel Jones sings the praises of an ingredient from Texas — the Ruby Red grapefruit.
BY SHERREL JONES Modified: February 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm •  Published: February 20, 2013
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Add some shrimp or rotisserie chicken to that grapefruit and avocado combination and you have a great salad. Arrange the grapefruit sections, avocado slices and shrimp or chicken over some lettuce and drizzle it with a simple dressing. Just the grapefruit alone in chunks or slices with strawberries, raspberries and other fruits hardly need a dressing to liven up any gray winter day.

You can make fans out of the grapefruit by peeling it as you would an orange then dividing it in half from central stem so that you have linear sections grouped together in half spheres. Slice across them to make fans. These arrange beautifully.

The grapefruit is about the easiest fruit to section or quickly cut top and bottom across the stem ends then using a sharp knife to remove the peel around the fruit and down. This eliminates some of the flesh but allows you to use a good paring knife to cut along the membranes and remove the fruity flesh in pretty sections. I'll just settle for the quickest way to get to the inside or in this case the “inner piece.”

The point of all this is to appeal to your sense of enjoying grapefruit at it's best even if some of the best is grown on the other side of the Red River. I say, “Thank you neighbors for those Rio Star Ruby Reds!”

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Jacque Pepin's Candied Grapefruit or Citrus Peel

Many zester tools have a larger blade opening for making strips. These strips make great candied peel for edible garnishing. Once candied, citrus segments or strips can be partially dipped in chocolate.

Strips or sections of orange or lemon peel

Cut strips or segments of citrus fruit. Place in pan of cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Let boil 30 seconds. Drain through colander. Repeat 3 times then return to a pot with about 8 cups of water and 1½ cups of sugar.

Bring peels to a boil then let simmer gently uncovered for about 1½ hours. The skins should be almost transparent and liquid like syrup will coat the peels. Transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet covered generously with sugar. Roll the peels around in the sugar to coat. Transfer them to another baking sheet to dry and harden for at least 1 hour.

Optional chocolate technique: Dip half of each peel in melted bittersweet chocolate (About 4 ounces melted in a double boiler with 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil.) Allow excess chocolate to drip off each piece then arrange on wax paper or oiled baking sheet. Let them set in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Serve or store in refrigerator until ready to gift or garnish.

Cooking notes: Strips and sections of peel can include some of the white cottony part just underneath the outer flesh. Store strips and segments of peeling to be candied in a sealed jar or plastic bag for a few days in the refrigerator until ready for the sugaring technique.

Source: Adapted from “Everyday Cooking with Jacque Pepin” (Harper & Row c. 1982)

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

This one is great on most any salads with citrus. My favorite is grapefruit, shrimp or chicken with avocado slices arranged over a bed of lettuce.

(Makes 4 servings)

2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice

1 tablespoon raspberry or red wine vinegar

1 or 2 teaspoons honey depending on sweetness of any fruit used in salad

½ teaspoon cumin

¼ cup grape seed or olive oil

Whisk all ingredients together until mixture thickens and emulsifies. Drizzle over your favorite lettuce, fruit or vegetable and meat combination.

Cooking note: Add a dash of hot sauce if you like or crushed pink peppercorns in place of cumin.

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