Sometimes you can get out of your culinary rut in the strangest ways. While I’ll often challenge myself to try something new or tweak a well-loved favorite based on new or delicious looking things at the grocery store, grapefruit just never seems to make the cut cuz
it just doesn’t look interesting to me the only thing that comes to mind is slowly making my way through, scooping out those more bitter than sweet wedges with a healthy dose of sugar for breakfast. Every year for the last 10 years, the hubster’s Mom has been sending us different iterations of fruit for the holidays. For the longest time we were in Harry & David Pacific NW pears and apples gift basket limbo until she came to visit us in November one year and realized that the pears and apples we had at the grocery store were better tasting and cheaper than the $9/pound ones from H&D (and while it must seem they were been dipped in gold, they weren’t).
Needless to say, color me surprised when I opened up a 9 pound box of Texan grapefruit this year. Since the thought of endless sugared grapefruit filled me with dread and
throwing away re-gifting a fairly expensive gift from the Mom-in-law would land me in the doghouse of perpetuity seemed like a bad idea, I scoured the interwebs for interesting uses for this underappreciated fruit. Like me, many people were stymied resulting in 80% of the recipes falling into the salad category but grapefruit liqueur (Ruby grapefruit-drops anyone?) and this sweetly savory iteration from Fine Cooking beckoned to me. As usual, I couldn’t help tinkering with it a bit. I’ve marinated the salmon in a miso-mirin marinade to infuse it with a little more flavor since miso goes well with ginger and there’s already ginger in the grapefruit sauce. I’ve never been a fan of basil with ginger without a curry paste mediator and it doesn’t play well with miso so that was left on the sidelines. Crushed red pepper gives the sauce a little bite versus cayenne which can overwhelm at times and since grapefruit are plenty piquant and bitter the extra citrus from the lemon was jettisoned as well. What you’re left with is a savory salmon in a tangy, spicy and slightly-bitter-but-not-in-a-bad-way sauce. So I’ll not only be slowly making my way through the remaining 8 pounds but also refraining from judging a fruit by its uninventive past cuz at just a little over 100 calories per ~4-inch diameter grapefruit which also contains a whopping 4 g of fiber, 26 g of carbs, and 128% of the RDA for vitamin C, I’ve been properly chagrined 🙂
What, it gets easier?
1) How to pick a good piece of fish? A deep orangey-red color is indicative of a good piece of salmon, right? Not always. Different species have different natural flesh colors: Chinook (also called king salmon) can be white or red, coho is a light orangey-pink, and sockeye is a deep red. The best test is texture, the flesh should be firm, not mushy to the touch with no ragged gaps in the flesh and there shouldn’t be any slimy texture of strong smell all of which would indicate an older fillet on the verge of going bad. I like to get my fish from the seafood case and most fishmongers will be happy to let you get up close and personal with your future meal.
2) Ideally your fillet should have a fairly uniform thickness otherwise the thinner parts will be overcooked and the thicker areas underdone. Next time you order fish at a restaurant you might notice how square and uniform in thickness your fillet is because they usually cut off the really thin belly edge and use it elsewhere, like in soup or fish stock. I like to trim off the thin belly flap and cook it separately.
3) When is my fish cooked? Raw fish is translucent and turns opaque when fully cooked with the usual rule of thumb being about 10 minutes total for a 1-inch thick fillet. Another good test of doneness is to insert a sharp knife into the flesh, it should go through easily with no resistance when fully cooked. Some people like their salmon (and tuna) opaque outside and a little translucent in the center so the knife test is best for this where in this case you’ll want to feel a little resistance halfway into the fillet. I would not wait till the flesh flakes easily. Not only does it mangle that lovely fillet you’ve lovingly prepared but it also means that your meal will be overcooked by the residual heat as it continues to cook out of the oven/off the stove.
4) Why can’t I use olive oil for everything? Olive oil has a low flash point (the temperature at which it can literally burst into flames) so is not a good choice when broiling close to the heating element.
2 5-oz 1-inch thick salmon fillets, pin bones removed
2 tbsp shiro (white) miso
2 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine) or sweet sherry
1 tsp (1 clove) crushed garlic
1 +1 tsp (1 inch) crushed ginger
1 ruby grapefruit
1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp minced shallot (~1/2 shallot)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt or 1/8 tsp regular salt
2 tsp honey
In a small ~1 quart zip bag mix together miso, mirin, garlic and 1 tsp ginger. Marinate salmon in bag, making sure to squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag so that the marinade is closely in contact with the salmon, for 15-20 minutes (basically how long it takes to prepare the grapefruit).
While salmon is marinating prepare grapefruit. Lightly score the peel like you’re going to quarter the grapefruit then remove the peel and pith. Peel off fibrous membrane from the individual wedges on one of the grapefruit halves so that you are left with the bright pink flesh. Discard any pits. Set aside to use in the sauce. With the remaining grapefruit half cut in half again lengthwise then remove pits and squeeze out juice ~2 tbsp. Reserve juice for use in sauce.
Grease a small roasting pan with canola oil then place salmon skin side down. Broil on highest rack for 4-5 minutes then turn over and broil skin side up for another 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
While salmon is roasting prepare sauce. In a small saucepan or skillet heat olive oil on medium heat till aromatic but not smoking. Sauté shallot till soft and golden ~2 minutes. Add ginger and sauté till aromatic ~30 seconds then stir in crushed red pepper, grapefruit wedges, grapefruit juice, and honey. Simmer till reduced to 2-3 tbsp ~5-7 minutes. Serve with salmon (I like to spoon a little on my plate, place the salmon over it and then drizzle some more over the salmon so it’s inundated with sauce). Makes 2 servings.
**Based on my estimations, 1 serving contains approximately 350 calories, 16 g protein, 9.2 g fat, 24 g carbohydrate, and 2 g fiber.