Grapefruit: Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

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I’m having a love affair with grapefruits.

This time of year, when local produce is in hibernation, citrus fruits are at their peak. My current obsession honors this juicy orb, long marginalized as a diet food for women of a certain age to eat daintily for breakfast with a serrated spoon.

No longer.


These days, I am guilty of peeling a giant pink grapefruit and eating it over the sink (the way I do with peaches in August) as the juice drips messily down my chin and arms. But this is not a practical or civilized way to enjoy this underrated fruit. I have been using grapefruits in cocktails, salads and to even brighten up fish and chicken for dinner.

Grapefruit Mimosa

Makes one cocktail

Brunch will never be the same. Not that there’s anything wrong with the classic mimosa of orange juice and sparkling wine, but the slightly bitter tang of the grapefruit adds a bit more complexity and sophistication. Use freshly squeezed pink grapefruits for best results. The pale pink color is just beautiful.

Use a modest bottle of bubbles for this; if you have really expensive champagne, don’t mix it with grapefruit juice, no matter how delicious it is.

  • ½ cup sparkling wine such as cava or prosecco
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • Pour the grapefruit juice into a champagne flute. Top with champagne.

Paloma

Makes one cocktail

This is a twist on the classic margarita. Grapefruit gives it a burst of freshness and oomph for times when you want a little something different.

  • Kosher salt to rim glass
  • Grapefruit or lime wedge to rim and garnish glass
  • ⅓ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup or agave syrup — or more to taste (see note)
  • ¼ cup good quality white tequila

Pour the kosher salt onto a saucer or plate. Rub the rim of the glass with lime or grapefruit wedge (reserve for garnish). Dip the rim of the glass into salt on a plate and rotate a few times to get the salt to adhere to the glass. Set the glass aside and make the drink.

Mix the juices, tequila and syrup well. Pour them over ice into a prepared glass and enjoy.

Note: To make simple syrup or agave syrup, mix equal parts sugar and water or sugar and agave. Heat the mixture in a small saucepan until melted. Remove the syrup from the heat, cool and use as desired to sweeten drinks.

Simple Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

Serves four

This was an improvised salad when I opened the fridge and found my produce drawer rather sparse. The sharp freshness of the grapefruit marries beautifully with the creamy avocado; the briny saltiness of the parmesan cheese and the crunch of the cashews deliver the perfect complements.

Because the salad has so much flavor, the dressing doesn’t need much of anything. As a result, this dish has made frequent encores on my dinner table.

  • 1 carton baby lettuce (or a head of your favorite lettuce washed and torn)
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut in chunks
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled, sectioned, and cut in chunks. (Prep the grapefruit over a bowl to catch the juice that drips out to use for the dressing.)
  • ⅓ cup salted cashews
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Generous sprinkle of fresh cracked pepper
  • Sprinkle of garlic powder, if desired

Place the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl with the cheese and nuts on top.

Sprinkle the dressing ingredients directly into a bowl over the salad and toss. Serve immediately.

Grapefruit Soy Marinade

Makes ⅔ cup marinade; enough to flavor protein for four to six people

This marinade is a unique and delicious way to flavor chicken, fish or flank steak. Like the salad described above, the contrasts — salty soy, fresh, citrusy grapefruit, spicy jalapeno and ginger, and sweet honey — unite to form a wonderfully complex taste in an unbelievably simple recipe.

  • 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest
  • ⅓ cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup mild flavored oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh jalapeno pepper (or the chili of your choice)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and pour over the protein. For fish (this is especially good with salmon and tuna), marinade for an hour at most; chicken and steak can sit for 2-24 hours.

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