Gotta love a fruit that doubles as a bowling ball. And one that sounds equally funny in French (pamplemousse) and English (grapefruit). There's certainly nothing grape-like about this puckery citrus and I don't find the texture mousse like at all.
But, every name has a history and the grapefruit is no exception. According to Wikipedia it was originally documented first in Barbados. It had developed as a hybrid from the even larger citrus bowling ball, pomelo.
Perhaps the French named it pamplemousse because it was a mouse sized pomelo? No. That can't be right.
In the U.S. the fruit was called shaddock or shattuck until the 1800's. Wikipedia gives no reason as to why or how the name was changed to grapefruit, but one can speculate that it's current alias alludes to the grape-like clusters it grows in.
Regardless, it's a terrificly refreshing fruit.
The idea of this recipe came as I was pondering over what to do with fresh scallops. The egg sack, known as the corail in French, is a beautiful shell pink color. Just about the same color of grapefruit – violà! Inspiration! – grapefruit glazed scallops!
Using grapefruit can be tricky as I found out, because it has a way of over powering everything. Like a bowling ball, it knocks down all the other pins. Some tips: use very small pieces of grapefruit in the garnish so as not to upstage the beets or scallops, and leave out the zest or just add a tiny little piece for decoration.
The glaze is infused with thyme and you can slather it on generously because the grapefruit juice is greatly reduced and has a fabulous sweet tangy flavor without the bite. Also the thyme really brings the dish together.
I seared the scallops with walnut oil and added some to the vinaigrette for the beet garnish. It adds depth and nuttiness – two of my favorite human characteristics, so don't leave them out either.
Seared scallops with Grapefruit Thyme Glaze and Roasted Beets
serves 2 people as an entrée, or about 5-6 people as an amuse bouche
1 red grapefruit. As red as red can be.
2 cups grapefruit juice
2 teaspoons honey
4 sprigs time
1/2 pound fresh or dry packed scallops. Not frozen.
2 yellow beets
2 red beets
1 head frisée lettuce
salt & pepper
Heat oven to 350˚F or 175˚C. Wash the beets and cut the tops off. Place the beets in a roasting pan and liberally douse with olive oil. Roll them around in it. Make sure to keep the yellow beets on one side of the pan and the red on the other. Season with salt and pepper and fresh thyme. Roast until the beets can be easily pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes. Remove and let cool in the pan. Peel beets when cool enough to handle with a pairing knife. Dice and store colors separately until ready to use.
In a medium saucepan on medium high heat, add 2 cups of grapefruit juice, 3 sprigs of thyme, and one teaspoon of honey. Reduce to 1 cup. Taste the juice, if it is still extra sour then add the second teaspoon of honey. Skim off any foam on the top and let the juice cool with the thyme sprigs. Once cool remove the thyme.
Section the grapefruit into whole segments without pith. The easiest way to do this is to cut off both the top and bottom of the grapefruit. Then slice down, following the curve of the fruit, from top to bottom to remove the thick skin. Cut each segment out from the pith individually and reserve.
To make the vinaigrette for the lettuce and beets: whisk 2 tablespoons of grapefruit juice with 4 tablespoons of walnut oil and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. The vinaigrette should taste a little more puckery than the glaze, so add a few drops of lemon juice to add acidity. Reserve.
Season scallops with salt and freshly ground pepper. To Sear: heat a small nonstick skillet on high heat that will fit the amount of scallops without any of them touching. Once the pan is hot add 2 tablespoons walnut oil. Walnut oil has a medium-high smoke point which means you can sauté nicely with it (but avoid deep frying). Once the oil is hot enough to sizzle a small drop of water (but before it starts to smoke) add the scallops and don't move them for at least 30 seconds.
If you move them constantly they won't brown or form that nice crust. Turn down heat to medium and continue to cook for another minute. Turn scallops and cook for another 1 1/2 on the other side. The cooking time will depend greatly on the size of the scallops. I like my scallops al dente in the middle and they will cook further with the following step:
Turn heat up to high and add 1/3 cup of the reduced grapefruit juice. The juice will bubble up like crazy and turn into a glaze almost instantly. Once the glaze has thickened, remove scallops to a plate and take the skillet off the heat to stop the glaze reducing further.
Dress beets separately with vinaigrette and lettuce too. Place scallops on the plate and spoon over glaze. Garnish with flecks of grapefruit and a few grinds of pepper.