Thursday, June 17, 2010
It's been a while since I've eaten grapefruit. I was obsessed with it a couple summers ago. I ate a grapefruit half every morning, the way my mom taught me: with salt sprinkled on top instead of sugar. It muted the bitterness and brought out the grapefruit's inherent sweetness. I must have gotten grapefruit fatigue, though, because after that summer ended, I didn't eat it again for two years.
My grapefruit renunciation ended during my honeymoon last year. David and I went to a restaurant that was supposed to be famous for its pancakes, but when I saw broiled grapefruit on the menu, my interest was piqued and I ordered it instead of the pancakes.
Fine, you got me. I ordered it in addition to the pancakes. I had coffee and orange juice, too. You happy?
The first bite was like breaking into the top of a creme brulee. Why had I been eating grapefruit with salt this whole time when I could have been eating with with a crackly topping of brown sugar and cinnamon? My world was rocked.
I made a silent vow that I would eat broiled grapefruit every day from then on. Sadly, I have not made it once in the past year. Grapefruit isn't a fruit I really think to buy very often - I usually buy fruits that are easier to eat on-the-go, like apples, pears, plums, and peaches (because I always forget about breakfast until it's time to leave for work). However, this week I have a large bag of grapefruit sitting on my counter, and they were practically crying out to me, "Broil us! Broil us!". And who am I to refuse?
I originally planned to smear some butter on the top of the grapefruit before topping it with the sugar and cinnamon, as though it were bread and I was making cinnamon toast. However, once I segmented the grapefruit, the juices starting flowing all over the place, and it would have been impossible to spread butter on it. Instead, I cut a cold pat of butter into tiny pieces and mixed it in with brown sugar, cinnamon. Then, just because the ground ginger was sitting next to the cinnamon, I added a smidgen of that, too. I didn't want it to feel left out of the party.
When I told my co-worker about my breakfast this morning, he recoiled a little and asked, "You cooked it? It was warm?" I know I've been saying this a lot lately, but trust me: it might sound weird, but it's really, really delicious. The heat in the oven caramelizes the grapefruit's natural sugars and brings its sweetness to the forefront. The grapefruit's bitterness is still there, but it's barely noticeable when the brown sugar and the spices are swimming with the juices. Best of all, the crackly layer of brown sugar on top...wait, I already mentioned the crackly topping? Well, it was worth mentioning again. Crackly topping.
1 grapefruit, halved
1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
smidgen of ground ginger
Move one of your oven racks to the top and turn on your broiler.
Remove the white pith from the center of the grapefruit. Segment the grapefruit (your future self will thank your past self for your thoughtfulness): trace your knife around the sections of fruit between the white membrane (if that's what it's called...I really need to catch up on my grapefruit anatomy).
Combine the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and ground ginger. Sprinkle the mixture onto each grapefruit half. Broil the grapefruit for 4-5 minutes.