As you may have noticed, we’ve been getting a lot of our recent cooking inspiration from you. In the same autumn salad contest that prompted Merrill’s post on Persimmon Chiffon Pie, there were a couple of dressing recipes that incorporated caramelized fruit. I like citrus-based vinaigrettes but sometimes the flavor is too thin, too faint and ephemeral. So I decided to try caramelizing some grapefruit before squeezing the juice for the dressing. There was no need for another acid like vinegar and I added a pinch of sugar to the dressing to offset the grapefruit’s bitterness. Turns out: eureka! —Amanda Hesser
small pink or red grapefruit, halved through its belly
Set a small sauté pan over medium high heat. Do not use cast iron. Spread the sugar on a plate and press the cut side of 1 grapefruit half in the raw sugar – it should fully coat the surface; eat the other half. When the pan is hot, lay the sugared side of the grapefruit in the pan. As the sugar melts and browns, the juices will bubble around the edge; don't let it blacken. Remove the grapefruit half to a plate and let cool.
Squeeze the juice from the grapefruit over a strainer and into a bowl. Measure out 1/4 cup and pour this into a small bowl.
Whisk in pinches of salt and sugar, then the mustard. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is smooth and thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.
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