Jessica Freeman-Slade is an Assistant Editor at Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House. She got her start blogging about Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon, and goes weak in the knees whenever a major cooking challenge presents itself. In the cold months she hoards away squashes, beets, and dark leafy greens, and in the summer runs with open arms to her local CSA for the best tomatoes and corn she can find. And she will never stop telling you how good Jim Lahey’s bread, Ina Garten’s roast chicken, and Hugh Acheson’s Hoppin’ John can be.
Here’s the latest installment of our brand-new feature on The Recipe Club: What’s In Season, a fresh way to take the fruits and vegetables just reaching your farmer’s market and put them to use with recipes from our new cookbooks. With the cold snap this week, it seems wrong to leave the winter ingredients behind in search of fresher, greener spring veggies. So in this last brush with chilly weather, take advantage of the still-delicious grapefruits in your kitchen with this recipe for Chaud Froid de Pamplemousse au Romarin from The Art of Living According to Joe Beef (Ten Speed Press, 2011).
You don’t need to do much to a grapefruit to enjoy it—I’m happy just to sprinkle the cut side with a little brown sugar and run it under the broiler until it’s just barely caramelized. But this delicious recipe takes your winter grapefruits and tops it with a fresh lemony curd.
By whipping up a bit of egg, sugar, and lemon juice, and dolloping it on top of a few wedges of fresh fruit, you have a light and surprisingly healthy dessert that still feels indulgence. Grapefruit is full of good vitamin C and antioxidants, and is delicious whether ice-cold in the summer or just gently toasted with a kiss of heat.
The guys at Joe Beef borrowed this idea from the famous Montreal chef Nicolas Jongleux, and it takes less than 20 minutes to throw this dessert together. You can even prepare its various parts ahead of time—cooking up the rosemary simple syrup, peeling and slicing your grapefruit, and whipping your egg whites—and then assemble each just before serving. It’s a perfect dish for the end-of-winter, and the grapefruit’s pucker will get you excited for the tart lemons and berries of warmer seasons to come.
Recipe for Chaud Froid de Pamplemousse au Romarin
From The Art of Living According to Joe Beef
½ cup (100 g) sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons (90 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 egg, separated
1 whole egg
Grated zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup (55 g) unsalted butter, diced
¼ cup (50 g) sugar
2 ½ tablespoons water
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
4 pink or white grapefruits
To make the curd, in a bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in the lemon juice, egg yolk, and whole egg, mixing well. (Reserve the egg white for later.) Strain through a sieve into a bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and butter.
Pour the mixture into a thick-bottomed saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat, stirring constantly, including into the corners of the pot—until the mixture reaches 185°F (84°C). You will notice it starting to bubble along the sides of the pan. When you see the bubbles, immediately transfer it to a bowl and refrigerate it.
Rinse the saucepan so you can use it for the syrup. Add the sugar and water, stir once, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat, add the rosemary, and allow to infuse for 5 minutes. Strain the syrup through a sieve and set aside.
Peel the grapefruits, keeping the segments whole and tidy (Google for a video, but you already know this). Drain off the excess juice and drink it with gin and a dash of the rosemary syrup. In a small bowl, whisk the reserved egg white until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Get out your blowtorch, or preheat your broiler. Set out 4 broilerproof plates or individual gratin dishes. Put a grapefruit’s worth of segments on each plate, arranging them side by side. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the rosemary syrup over each portion of grapefruit segments. Gently fold the egg white into the curd, then spoon the curd evenly over the grapefruit portions.
Run the torch over the curd topping until nice and caramelized, or put the plates or dishes on a rimmed baking sheet and slip under the broiler for a minute or two. Remember the top should be hot but not the bottom. That’s chaud froid! Serve right away.