Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Grapefruit Salad with Mango, Coconut and Whole Spices

I've been eating a lot of grapefruit lately because the pink variety is in season. I love the acidic bitter sweetness and the fact that every so often you bite into a really sweet segment, perhaps why the botanical name is Citrus paradisi and in the 17th century it was known as "the forbidden fruit". The grapefruit is an accidental cross pollination between the pomelo, a large very sour green fruit from Southeast Asia was brought to the Caribbean by Captain Shaddock and an orange. The name has nothing to do with grapes. The large yellow fruits grow in clusters on tress. It was introduced to Florida in 1823 by a French count and Florida was the first place where it was cultivated.

I mostly eat grapefruits cut in half and cut out the segments with a serrated knife but sometimes I like to make fruit salad served in grapefruit shells (pictured above). There really isn't a recipe as it depends on how many people you are serving and what fruit is in season. I made my salad using two pink grapefruit, peeled whole, white pith removed and the thin transparent skin of each segment peeled off. I cut the segments in half and tossed them one Alphonso mango from a friends garden (the mango is native to India and this variety is by far the Queen of all mangoes with sweet, golden, apricot-peach flavored flesh) cut into slices, a sliced banana and fresh coconut strips. To make the strips I cracked open a whole coconut and peeled away the brown skin and then cut the strips. If not in the mood to wrangle a coconut open, just use dried, unsweetened coconut chips. I made a simple sugar syrup and when it was simmering I added whole cinnamon sticks and star anise pods to infuse it with a hint of spice. When the syrup cooled I mixed the fruit with it and spooned it into the grapefruit shells.  Voila!

No comments: