At this time of year, there is a dearth of fruit in many parts of the country, but grapefruit from Texas, Florida and Southern California is still very much in season.
I call these seared ruby red grapefruit rounds “pancakes,” not because there is any batter involved, but because I serve them warm, with maple syrup that I spike with fresh ginger juice.
I learned long ago that fresh ginger and grapefruit make a wonderful couple. Adding maple syrup to the equation is more recent, and it’s a winning combination, adding a new dimension of flavor.
You may have had grapefruit warm before, most likely a classic ’50s-style half-grapefruit sprinkled with sugar and broiled until the sugar caramelizes on the top. Today’s grapefruit varieties are sweeter than the fruit was when that recipe evolved; in those days, people routinely sprinkled sugar on top whether they were broiling it or not.
I wanted my grapefruit rounds warm, but if I seared them for too long, the grapefruit dried out too much. I didn’t get that rush of juice when I took a bite.
Since I wasn’t sprinkling them with sugar and aiming for caramelization when I heated them in the pan, I could just sear them very briefly in hot butter. That way, the surface is warm when you drizzle on the syrup, but each bite is juicy and refreshing.
Seared grapefruit with ginger maple syrup
2 grapefruit, preferably ruby red
1 tablespoon finely grated or minced ginger
2 to 4 tablespoons maple syrup, to taste
1 tablespoon butter
Pomegranate seeds, for garnish (optional)
1. Cut away the ends of each grapefruit. Stand on a flat end, and remove the skin and pith by cutting down the sides of the fruit. Slice each grapefruit horizontally into 4 or 5 thick rounds (depending on the size).
2. Cut a square of cheesecloth. Wrap the ginger in the cheesecloth and squeeze over a bowl to extract juice. (If you don’t have cheesecloth, use a clean kitchen towel.) Measure out 1 / 2teaspoon juice and mix with the maple syrup. Add more ginger juice if desired. If desired, heat the syrup at 50 percent power in a microwave for 25 to 30 seconds.
3. Heat butter over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet or on a griddle until foam subsides and butter begins to color. Sear the grapefruit slices for no more than 20 seconds on each side and remove to a platter or plates. Drizzle on ginger maple syrup, garnish with pomegranate seeds if you’d like, and serve at once, while the grapefruit is still warm.
Yield: 4 servings