I love grapefruit.
I know its not everyone's top choice as far as citrus goes, but I totally dig the stuff. Los Angeles is filled with a grapefruit trees, and luckily I've got a friend with a tree in his garden that has been producing fruit every year for nearly two decades. He brings me shopping bags full of them in exchange for the pickles and jams I've been making or some tomatoes or greens from the kitchen garden. Most of the time I toss them into the juicer with beets, carrots and garden greens, but the most recent fruit haul (probably the last until late summer) inspired me to make something that would allow me to get my grapefruit fix until the trees are once again heavy with fruit.
Marmalade seemed just the thing.
My Italian grandfather was a big fan of citrus, and he was the one to turn me on the sweet, bitter and tangy goodness of marmalade. Most of the time, we ate it on an English muffin toasted dark and crunchy with lots of butter. And although I've broadened my horizons on how to get my marmalade fix, on toasted bread with butter will always be in my repe toire of how to eat it.
I made orange marmalade once before, years ago -- a really traditional recipe from Saveur magazine that called for Seville oranges. Like, from Spain. The guys at Sosio's produce in Pike Place Market (I lived in Seattle at the time) were the only ones who would order them for me, but not before they quizzed me about what I was planning on making with them ("You know those things are bitter, right?"). Once I had the oranges in hand and discovered that they were, indeed, inedible, I went through the very involved process of juicing them and removing the pulp, then wrapping the rinds in cheesecloth and boiling them in the juice and sugar. Then I had to remove the rinds from the pot, let them cool, slice them razor thin and return them to the pot to boil some more. It was a lot of work, and although the results were pretty tasty, the Seville orange marmalade was not transcendent. I knew that for this go round of marmalade-making I wanted something simpler. Plus, the grapefruit I get from trees in Westwood are far tastier than bitter oranges flown across the world from Spain, so I knew I could up the deliciousness level considerably.
I was looking for a recipe that simpler than the Seville orange one. I love Pinterest for just this sort of thing, and quickly found what I needed at Serious Eats (http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/01/fresh-grapefruit-marmalade-recipe.html). Fresh grapefruit marmalade with no cheesecloth in sight, and it took me about half the time of my original attempt. Done.
The result was a dozen jars of golden goodness that I have been eating on everything -- as a glaze on grilled chicken, baked into turnovers with fresh ricotta cheese, stirred into a dipping sauce for spring rolls or dumplings. I've given away a few jars to other grapefruit lovers, too, including the friend with the tree. The response has been nothing but positive, so I guess I'll be making this one again as long as the grapefruit gods provide.
And in case you're wondering if I still eat my grandfather's classic toasted bread marmalade delivery system, and I know you are, let's just say I have eaten my weight (at least!) in Beverlywood Bakery pumpernickel bread since making this batch. I can happily report that it still tastes as good as when I was a kid.
It always makes me think about my grandfather, too.