Fresh citrus is nature's winter gift to cooks: It's a foolproof way to brighten up the heartier cooking the season demands. Even light, bold-flavored fare can benefit from a fruity spritz. Joanne Chang, the celebrated pastry chef and owner of Boston's renowned Flour Bakery + Café locations, finds that citrus—and grapefruit in particular—harmonizes especially well with Asian food at her Myers + Chang restaurant.
Grapefruit occupies the perfect middle ground between sweeter citrus, such as tangerines, and aggressively acidic fruit, like lemons.
"Our food has a lot of spicy, strong, and punchy flavors," Chang says. "I think grapefruit goes well with a lot of things because it's not an extreme flavor. I think it's an underappreciated fruit, and it's so adaptable because it's so balanced." Chang uses it in savory dishes, such as a tamarind-glazed hake with mint, jicama, and grapefruit salad, to add a burst of fresh sweet-tart juice to the mix.Grapefruit also makes a great base for desserts that are light and refreshing, like the Grapefruit Granita featured here.
To complement the fluffy granita, Chang gently poaches pears in honey-and-vanilla-infused liquid, then tops the dish with pomegranate arils and mint. Our version honors that flavor combo with a simpler treatment that blends fresh pear and grapefruit into a pomegranate-studded relish.Try Chang's original dish this month at Myers + Chang in Boston's South End.
Grapefruit Granita with Pear-and-Pom Relish Hands-on: 15 min. Total: 8 hr. 15 min. 4 cups fresh grapefruit juice (about 6 grapefruit) 6 tablespoons sugar ¼ teaspoon salt, divided 2 Bosc pears, peeled and diced ½ cup pomegranate arils 1 red grapefruit, sectioned and coarsely chopped 8 mint leaves, thinly sliced
1. Combine juice, sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a bowl; stir until sugar dissolves. Pour juice mixture into an 11 × 7--inch glass or ceramic baking dish; cover and freeze overnight.
2. Let granita stand at room temperature 30 minutes; scrape with a fork.
3. Combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, pear, and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Divide granita evenly among 8 bowls; top evenly with pear mixture.
SERVES 8 (serving size: about 1½ cups granita and about 1/3 cup relish) CALORIES 136; FAT 0.2g (sat 0g, mono 0.1g, poly 0.1g); PROTEIN 1g; CARB 34g; FIBER 1.9g; CHOL 0mg; IRON 0.3mg; SODIUM 62mg; CALC 26mg