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Friday, January 7, 2011

Pretty In Pink

 Every year during the holidays, our realtor sends us a crate filled with pink grapefruits and navel oranges. As lovely and generous as it sounds, a crate is a hell of a lot of grapefruit and oranges for two people to consume.  We've made salty dogs, greyhounds, and screwdrivers with a large portion of the bounty. I've even taken a few to work to halve, section, and broil until the tops bruleed into caramelized grapefruit crackling candy.  Last night, we had two left in the gigantic decorative bowl on the kitchen counter.  Recalling a recipe from Patrick O'Connell's Refined American Cuisine from The Inn at Little Washington, I decided to adapt his recipe for Scaloppine of Chicken with Grapefruit and Pink Peppercorns.  Instead of chicken, I used pork cutlets pounded into thin scaloppine.

 With the exception of  the grapefruit prep ( which I found fun) , it was very easy to prepare. 

I used everything the grapefruit had to offer. I zested the outermost layer into jullienned strips  before slicing the remaining pith away from the grapefruit to expose the glistening flesh. I candied the jullienned grapefruit strips in simmering simple syrup. While they simmered in their sugar bath, I carefully supremed the fresh grapefruit sections, allowing  them to drop into a bowl along with their juices. Once the grapefruit was completely sectioned, I squeezed it to release 1/2 cup of fresh juice and set it aside. 

I had gorgeous baby purple potatoes and cipollini onions in the pantry and thought they'd provide an earthy balance to the grapefruit pork scaloppine.  After scoring and blanching the onions to release their skins, I briefly boiled the baby potatoes to soften them. To gild the lily just a bit, I roasted paper thin slices of prosciutto until they morphed into salty ham crackers.

I set everything aside and met up with Michael in the parlor to chat and drink a few glasses of wine before dinner. The importance of mise en place.  Everything was in place.

After drinking the last of the Francis Coppola 2008 Black Label Claret Cabernet Sauvignon, it was time to cook.

It went fast. Really fast.

I got a cast iron skillet screaming hot before adding equal parts olive oil and butter.  When it started to smoke, I tossed the onions and potatoes into the cauldren to crisp and caramelize.  When they were perfectly browned, I pulled them from the heat and dropped in 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon of fresh minced rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Buttery rosemary glazed baby purple potatoes and cipollini onions with prosciutto cracklings.  Call it a day.

Not quite.  There was more pork to be had.
I got another skillet smoking hot, swirled olive oil into the pan, dredged the pork scaloppine in flour, and carefully placed them in the sizzling oil.  After they were golden brown, I removed them from the skillet and  tented them to rest.

I deglazed the pan with the reserved fresh pink grapefruit juice, allowing it to reduce  by half before adding 1/2 cup heavy cream, white pepper, and pink peppercorns.

I plated the pork scaloppine with generous drizzles of  the creamy grapefruit pink peppercorn  sauce before topping them with fresh  grapefruit sections, candied grapefruit strips, fresh tarragon, and pink peppercorns.

I nestled the pan roasted potatoes, onions, and prosciutto onto the plates with a gratuitous spoonful of buttered peas.


A perfectly sliced bite revealed such complex layered flavors.  Bitter candied grapefruit rind gave way to tart fresh grapefruit pulp that bled into the soft rich concentrated grapefruit cream sauce. The complexity of those flavors bathed the crispy golden brown  pork scaloppine hidden underneath.  An occasional fiery snap from pink peppercorns provided heat and crunch while the randomly scattered fresh tarragon leaves hinted freshness with subtle anise undertones.

The caramelized cipollini onions and purple potatoes added grounding depth to the grapefruit assault while the prosciutto cracklings provided needed salt, texture, and pure pork essence. Crazy good.  Really.

Pink and pretty grapefruit.

Not just for breakfast or cocktails.

Who knew?

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