Ok, I admit it. I made a mistake last week. I bought only 3 grapefruit for brunch, figuring one half for each of us and leaving one extra. Normally, this would have been plenty as the girls aren’t too fond of plain grapefruit. But this time Tim, always happy to have an excuse to use his propane torch in the kitchen, played with fire and gave the grapefruit halves crunchy, caramelized tops.
His flame-throwing skills resulted in culinary magic. The grapefruit were transformed into great fruit. Thanks to a little fire, sugar, and salt, we were able to say goodbye to grapefruit’s bitterness and hello to its sweet, sour, and juicy goodness. We each devoured our half. The girls fought for, and ended up sharing, the lone leftover. Learning from my mistake, I’ll buy more next time (and soon as citrus season is fading) because this side dish stole the show!
adapted from Alton Brown in “Good Eats“
- red or pink grapefruits, chilled (we like the Texas Rio Star variety) – at least one half per person
- coarse sugar (we use turbinado or “sugar in the raw”)
- coarse sea salt
Halve each grapefruit crosswise, and cut a thin slice off the bottom of each half to stabilize the pieces, if needed. Remove all seeds from the grapefruit, and loosen the segments with a paring knife for easy eating. This extra step sounds like a pain, but it goes quickly and your kids will love you for it! Now no grapefruit spoons are necessary.
Sprinkle each half evenly with sugar. Using a blowtorch, melt the sugar to form a golden brown and crispy surface. Sprinkle the hot sugar with the salt, and serve immediately.
Grapefruit “Broilee” Variation:
No propane torch? No problem! Preheat oven broiler. Place prepared grapefruit halves on rimmed baking sheet. Slide onto top rack of oven for 3-5 minutes or until the sugar is melted, golden brown, and crispy. Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt, and dig in.