In the midst of heavy winter meals that fill the holiday season, citrus fruit offers refreshing relief. Grapefruit in particular brings a tart and bittersweet flavor to the table. Not quite as sour as lemons or as sweet as oranges, this large citrus fruit is perhaps the most versatile in the family.
While grapefruit appears in a variety of recipes, it’s certainly not for the fruit’s ease of use. Its thick rind, bitter pith, and tough membrane mean that simply peeling and eating, as one might do with a clementine, is not the best way to enjoy a grapefruit. Instead, several methods work for preparing and enjoying grapefruit.
To enjoy grapefruit in its most simple form, slice the fruit in half to expose all of the sections. Use a paring knife to slice between the pith and the meat of the fruit. Slice the membrane from each section. Use a grapefruit spoon to scoop the fruit from the half. If the grapefruit is on the bitter side, sprinkle with sugar.
Supremes are the best way to cut a grapefruit to incorporate it into a recipe, whether it is a fruit medley, salad dressing, or topping of a light cake. Begin by slicing the top inch of rind from the top and bottom so that the bright pink fruit below the white pith is exposed. Sit the grapefruit on one of the flat edges just cut. Take a sharp knife and remove the rind and pith by slicing between the pith and the fruit from top to bottom. Continue this all the way around the fruit until you have a pile of rind and a round fruit free of rind and bitter pith.
To remove the sections of fruit from the tough membrane, hold the fruit in one hand and use the knife to slice on either side of the membrane, freeing a wedge of grapefruit. This is best done over a bowl to catch any juice that drips as this can be a messy process. Once the process is complete and the bowl full of grapefruit wedges, squeeze the membrane to release any residual juice.
Candied Grapefruit Rind
2½ cup sugar, divided
Begin by slicing the rind from the fruit as if preparing to cut into supremes and cut into quarter-inch slices. Place the slices into a pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and then drain. Place the rind back into the pot with 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water. Boil for 20 minutes. Drain the syrup. Pro tip: Save the syrup to add the palomas. Separate the sliced rind on a wire rack to dry for 4 hours. Once the strips are tacky but no longer wet, toss the rind in the remaining sugar. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
2 ounces grapefruit juice
2 ounces tequila
Juice of ½ lime
1 ounce simple syrup (preferably from the candied grapefruit rind)
Combine grapefruit juice, lime juice, tequila, and simple syrup in a bar mixing glass and stir. Take a lime wedge and run it around the rim of a highball glass. Dip the rim of the glass in coarse salt. Fill the glass with ice and pour the grapefruit juice mixture into the glass. Top with soda water and garnish with a lime wedge.
½ pound tilapia
1 cup lime juice
½ red onion
2 teaspoons whole pink peppercorns
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, to taste
Cilantro for garnish
Cut the grapefruit into supremes. Squeeze the remaining juice from the skin until you have ½ cup of fresh juice. Combine grapefruit juice and lime juice. Chop the red onion. Slice fish into 1-inch cubes. Combine the onion, fish, peppercorns, and citrus juice in a container ensuring that the juice covers the fish. If the fish is not covered completely, it will cook unevenly. Let the fish chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours, stirring at the 2-hour mark to ensure that the fish is cooking evenly. Drain the liquid from the fish. Toss the fish with olive oil, grapefruit slices, and avocado. Spoon the mixture over a leaf of butter lettuce and enjoy.