Citrus Sunshine: Brown sugar broiled grapefruit


Who can help but love a grapefruit? Bright and tangy, and singing of tropical sunsets and journeys. Grapefruit's zing has hefty health benefits, too. It's packed with vitamin C, can curb your appetite, and protects your heart. And it's in season, now.

Of course, when it comes to good things, there is always such a thing as too much. You can overdose on grapefruit juice, you know. It's true...grapefruit and certain medications, particularly statins, just don't mix.  If you have any reason to doubt the friendly intentions of this sweet-tart citrus and your own prescriptions, be sure to consult an updated list.

This week, we rang in the New Year with snores and exhaustion. We had a long, cramped flight back from the UK the previous day, and we were jet-lagged and weary, and a little loath to accept the routines and obligations of regular life again. A little post-holiday blues, perhaps. I woke up  a tad dejected, feeling the weight of lethargy and irritable with myself for starting the new year in a rut.

It's the little things that matter most, most of the time, though. They add up and turn around a bad mood or day, thank goodness, with greater frequency than we tend to acknowledge and appreciate. New Year's Day, my turnaround vehicle was broiled grapefruit. Tried it yet? If not (and if you like grapefruit, and um, won't die if you eat it), then seriously, do. It's like sunshine in it's own sustainable bowl.

I got the recipe from this month's issue of Eating Well. It's super simple...simple, few ingredients and easy-peasy steps. So, resist the urge to skip the sectioning.  This allows some of the (very little) sugar and cinnamon to filter down to the bottom of the fruit. Also, be sure to line your baking pan with foil, as there will be a fair amount of leakage...on the tray, but, very pleasantly, not on your plate once you eat it.

I admit, I was lazy about melting butter. In that, I didn't do it. Which meant I cut down on the already lean butter considerably by just rubbing a tiny dab over the top before sprinkling with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Speaking of which, I cut back on the brown sugar too, using about 1 to 1.5 teaspoons per grapefruit half as opposed to the suggested two. And it was still delectable. I was let my lethargy win when it came to preparing the simple cream to dollop on top. We used a generous spoonful of vanilla Noosa yogurt instead, and that was heavenly.

This grapefruit wowed us as a side at lunch, but it really carried off the loveliness and sophistication worthy of least to health-conscious dinner guests. I'm already planning to trial it next weekend. Breakfast, snack, appetizer, this is one that makes you go mmmm without the guilt.

Brown sugar broiled grapefruit from Eating Well

Serves 4

  • 2 red or pink grapefruit
  • 8 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon or cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons melted butter (optional)
For topping (optional...I topped with a dollop of Noosa yogurt)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat or low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Position oven rack about 3 inches from the heat source; preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. Cut each grapefruit in half, then trim a thin slice off the bottom so it sits level. With a paring knife or grapefruit knife, cut around each segment; remove any seeds. Place the grapefruit halves on the prepared baking sheet. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon (or cardamom) in a small bowl. Brush each grapefruit half with butter, then sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons of the sugar mixture.
  3. Broil the grapefruit, watching carefully and rotating the pan front to back once halfway through, until the tops are bubbling and golden brown, 7 to 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, beat cream in a small bowl until stiff. Beat in yogurt, granulated sugar and vanilla just until combined. Serve each grapefruit topped with a heaping tablespoon of the vanilla cream.