Grapefruit is available year round, thanks to staggered growing seasons among the handful of states that produce it: California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida. Peak season is October through March. I’ve always thought that the pink and red varieties were sweeter than the pale-fleshed ones, but apparently it isn’t true. Ripeness is one of the factors that effect the sweetness. I still prefer the red varieties because of their striking color.
Chock-full of vitamin C, fiber, and among the red varieties, lycopene, an antioxidant also found in tomatoes, grapefruit is one healthy food. I wouldn’t recommend the fad grapefruit diet, but incorporating grapefruit as part of your fruit intake is a wise, and flavorful decision.
My favorite grapefruit (forgive me, Arizona), is the Texas Rio Star, which is the most red-fleshed variety available. It is so red, even the normally white pith is tinged pink. Juicy and sweet, this grapefruit beauty perks up all kinds of dishes, from sauces, to vinaigrettes, to desserts. Here is a recipe for a vinaigrette, using the potent zest and freshly squeezed juice of the versatile grapefruit.
I love to toss this vinaigrette with baby greens and top it with grilled shrimp. (You could marinate the shrimp in the vinaigrette for 15 minutes before grilling). Garnish the salad with grapefruit sections and a ripe, sliced avocado. A little goat cheese wouldn’t hurt, either.
Grapefruit Champagne Vinaigrette
Makes 3/4 cup
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
Zest of 1 grapefruit and 2 tablespoons of juice*
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Place the vinegar through white pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.
2. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until smooth. Set aside.
* First zest grapefruit, then peel and section. Save the sections to garnish the salad, and squeeze the juice needed from the pulp after removing the sections.