Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Tale of the Enormous Grapefruit

Often when I am wandering in the produce department of any market, I am very often tempted by any strange or unusual fruits and veggies that catch my eye. About a week ago, I spied some enormous looking grapefruits sitting in a crowded special bin next to the other citrus fruits. A big gold label slapped on the rind announced that this was actually a Pomelo, and it was locally grown. Without hesitation, I decided to lift this behemoth of a fruit into my cart and was dead certain I would enjoy it for breakfast over the next few days. However, as is often the case with my odd fruit and veggie purchases, the pomelo sat in the fridge waiting to be eaten. At home it seemed far too large to eat as a breakfast dish, and my daughter glanced at it and wanted to know why there was a huge melon blocking her food in the fridge.

Luckily, I happened to stop by a Publix grocery store on another night when they were doing one of their free cooking demonstrations. It just so happened that the meal of the day was a chicken salad with a grapefruit based dressing. Their recipe called for 3 normal grapefruits, so I was sure I could use my one hefty pomelo instead. I already had all of the other ingredients at home, so it was absolutely added to my menu for the week.

Let me tell you that juicing a pomelo is no easy task! It was far too big for my juicer, so I had to cut it into halves, and then quarter one half in order to make the fruit pieces small enough to use in my hand juicer.

The recipe calls for an odd ingredient.. lemon curd. Lemon curd is like a thick bright yellow lemony jam. Thicker and stickier and far sweeter than say something like apple butter. It is like lemon meringue pie in jam form. It is not usually the first thing I would think to add in a dressing for a chicken salad. However, countered with the sourness of the citrus, it really did work. The salad was incredibly simple to make - just cook some chicken breasts, slice and toss them over some mixed greens with some grapefruit segments, and the citrusy lemony dressing drizzled on top. I would make this again without question, although I would make far less dressing, as I had at least a cup leftover.

Grapefruit & Chicken Salad (based on a recipe found here)
(serves 2-3)

3 pink grapefruits or 1 huge pomelo, juice some to get 1 1/3 cups juice, cut the rest into segments for the salad
1/2 cup lemon curd
1/2 tsp minced garlic
3 skinless boneless chicken breasts
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp canola oil
mixed salad greens

Season chicken on both sides with some salt and pepper, then cook in a hot skillet with a little bit of oil over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Slice thinly. While the chicken is cooking, whisk together the grapefruit juice, lemon curd, and garlic until smooth. Place a hearty handful of washed salad greens onto a plate, scatter some of the grapefruit segments and chicken strips on top, drizzle with some of the dressing.

Note: The original version also called for 1 Tbsp of black sesame seeds in the dressing, which makes the salad look really pretty. I did not have any and since I seldom use them, I didn't want to buy a whole bottle just for this one recipe, so I left them out.

The recipe card also suggested making some simple Cheese Crisps (essentially open faced grilled cheese sandwiches) to go alongside the salad. This was just some bakery fresh multigrain bread, buttered lightly with a slice of cheese on top, toasted in a 425 F oven for 5 minutes. I used Amish Havarti cheese, which was nice and mild and didn't overpower the flavors in the salad.


  1. This sounds really good Heather. I am not allowed to eat grapefruits, although I love them, because of the medication I am on. I wonder what could I substitute?

  2. Are you able to eat blood oranges? I think they would have the right amount of sourness.