“Life is like a grapefruit. Well, it’s sort of orangy-yellow and dimpled on the outside, wet and squidgy in the middle. It’s got pips inside, too. Oh, and some people have a half a one for breakfast.”
– Douglas Adams, So Long and Thanks For All the Fish
A few years ago, grapefruit and Campari was all the rage in everything. I’m sure it was started by some marketing exec at the company that produces Campari – who knows, maybe they had a local chef in Italy come up with the combination, maybe it was a random shot. Either way, it took the dining scene in the U.S. by storm for a short while. Every pastry chef in the country, and many savory chefs (their food, not necessarily their character), suddenly had a dish that involved white or pink grapefruit and Campari. It was a good combination, the herbal flavors of the liqueur playing off the bitterness and acidity of the citrus. I was walking by a neighborhood verduleria yesterday and they had a big display of pomelos rojos, literally “red grapefruit”, but what we think of as pink. They were a whole, whopping peso and a half (fifty cents) for a kilo – so, roughly twenty cents a pound! I’d just finished off the last jar of my tangerine honey cinnamon marmalade, so it was time for a new one. Grabbed a kilo, and on the way home thought – hey, I’ve got a half a bottle of Campari sitting around… Gotta love that vivid color, and the flavor is just as intense!
Quarter two pounds (roughly a kilo, and in this case, four large) of pink grapefruits, and pick out the bigger seeds that you see. Toss the quarters in the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Put in a saucepan with roughly a pound of sugar (whatever quantity of grapefruit you use, use half the amount, by weight, of sugar), and a half cup of Campari. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for half an hour, until the fruit is all translucent and soft. Remove from the heat and cool. Eat.
Maybe I should just open a little shop and sell marmalades and sauces and…