Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Roasted Grapefruit with Chipotle & Sage


When I was a child, Winter was associated with a number of things.  Living in Michigan, snow and ice for sure, but also hot chocolate with marshmallows from packets, puffy snowsuits that made us look like Michelin men as we made snow angels and constructed ice palaces (long before Elsa), swans and geese drifting in the little spots of water amidst the lake of ice by our house, and boxes of citrus fruits that lived in our chilly downstairs pantry.

See, my brother was in band, and their annual fundraiser was selling oranges and grapefruits.  Sure, we wanted to support him and his charge for claiming 1st chair clarinet, but we also wanted the fruit, which as I remember, was better than anything we ever bought from the grocery store.  Win-win.  We would eat it out of hand, cut it into segments, and basically enjoyed it at every meal all Winter long.   Nothing fancy - just a taste of sunshine amidst the gray and often dreary weather outside.

Yes - that is indeed a big bag of beautiful Texas grapefruit.

So, when I saw a ridiculous special on local Rio Star grapefruit at the Whole Foods down the block, I jumped at it (Well, I kind of hopped - a 15 lb. bag slung over your shoulder can make jumping difficult).  And while I have been enjoying them at nearly every meal once again, with the sheer number of them, I've also been able to delve into more fancy and creative ways of eating them.  Baking them into pies and cobblers, juicing them, making salad dressings, and the simple technique featured in today's recipe:  roasting them. 


Roasted Grapefruit with Sage & Chipotle
Gluten-Free & Vegan

Active Prep Time: less than 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: none
Cooking Time:  20-25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

2 large grapefruit
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons coconut sugar
8 fresh sage leaves
ground chipotle, to taste
sprinkling of salt

What you'll need: Medium baking dish, grapefruit knife (or slim serrated knife)

1.  Preheat oven to 385 degrees.
2.  Slice each grapefruit in half, slicing off the bottom-most portion of each half to create a flat surface to prevent it from rolling.
3.  Carefully cut around the circumference of each half, slicing the fruit away from the rind, and then along each segment to release it from the membrane.
4.  Place 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil in the center of each half, sprinkling a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, a dash or two of chipotle, and a pinch of salt.  As for the sage, I like to bruise the leaves first to release their essential oils, and for each half I will mince one leaf and "stuff" the grapefruit by placing the pieces inside the cuts, and then keep one leaf whole to garnish directly on top.
5.  Arrange grapefruit on baking dish cut side up and place on the middle rack of the oven.  Roast for 20-25 minutes.  The sugar and coconut oil mixture will begin to bubble and the segments will slightly rise above the level of the rind.
6.  Once finished, spoon any juices that have collected in the baking dish back onto the grapefruit. Ready to serve and enjoy.

I love this part - it's like a puzzle to me.

Before

After

For years now, I've found the technique of roasting or broiling grapefruit to be intriguing.  But I've never tried it, as I tend to buy grapefruit only one at a time and with a specific purpose in mind that does not include cooking it.  So what better time to try something new than when citrus is in season and you have more than you know what to do with?  I enjoy the gentle heightening of flavor that comes with roasting the grapefruit, and the combination of coconut oil, coconut sugar, chipotle, and sage is delightfully warming and complementary to the tart/bittersweetness of the citrus.  Also, be aware that cooking the grapefruit will make it considerably more juicy, so keep the napkins, goggles, and/or bibs handy.  [cue sound of windshield wipers]

Many other recipes for roasted or broiled grapefruit will call for more sugar, more spice, or more fat, but instead of smothering the flavor of the prime ingredient like a head-to-toe parka, I prefer to give it a sweater with a snug knit cap.   In other words, feel free to sweeten, spice, or enrich to your taste.


Isn't it lovely?

*******
I hope you have enjoyed a beautiful beginning to the New Year.  May it bring you opportunities to discover, to learn, and allow adventure to find you.  Stay warm and stay well!

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All the Best,
Jonathan

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