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Sunday, January 06, 2013

Foodie Sunday: Cooked Fruit

By Tom

Looking at a post online about the trend towards Orange pie I happened across a comment from someone who pointed out with horror that his mother used to serve as an appetizer grapefruit that was put under the broiler after a dusting of cinnamon (and I assume sugar) and served with a maraschino cherry. Some of the commenters bemoaned the idea of cooking any fruit as if it were anathema.

Now I am all for fresh fruit. But unless you're picking those blackberries from a shaded wild patch from a stand of New England trees in summer, you aren't getting the Apollonian idea of the fruit. Similarly to buying off-season tomatoes I've had peaches that had the consistency of pressboard and were about as juicy.

In short, those blackberries you bought at Trader Joe's in Ferbuary for $1.99 need some help, and cooking could do it.

Cooking can also be good with fruit that is past it's prime. I remember my Mom would put up preserves every fall, particularly buying a bushel or two of peaches that were trimmed (the dogs loved the smushy parts that didn't make it into the pot- likely bad for them but they lived a long time) and made into preserves. Raspberries that were not attractive enough to make it to the markets from the local farms or were so ripe they would be going off soon would be made into gorgeous jams that would be carefully laid down in the old coal cellar along with potatoes and apples that would last the winter.

It was a New England thing.

But back to that grapefruit.

I kind of remember that. I think we would have it at a fancy breakfast or Mom would serve it at a ladies lunch along with wafer-thin sandwiches made from brown bread with cream cheese and olive or white bread with a touch of butter and cucumber. Crusts off, of course. Back in the day, this was considered "diet" food. Well, since the men were having a filet cooked in butter, baked potato with sour cream and three Martinis in comparison I guess it was. After all, the closest they saw to a vegetable were the chives on the potato, since the parsley was just a garnish.

In any case, I think that grapefruit should come back. It's basically a great idea. Grapefruit I love, but a lot of people can't stand it because it's too tart. sprinkled with sugar and blasted with a salamander (expensive for broiler) takes care of that. If you can unearth a grapefruit knife (which I have not seen since my parent's 1970's kitchen), you can perfect the grapefruit (remove the soft fruit) then remove the bitter membrane and return the fruit to the shell, sprinkle with turbinado sugar and put under the broiler for 30 seconds to brown the sugar. Play around and add some raspberries or blueberries. Have some fun!

Don't get me started on the joys of prunes..

Image: Bon Appetit


Blogger Furriner said...

I remember my mother putting grapfruit under the broiler with some sweet and low on it back in the '70s (I'm from Chicago). I mean, it wasn't like she cooked it like a baked potato. It was only broiled for about 5 minutes or so. And it was an everyday thing, not as an appetizer. Anyway, I agree with you about cooking fruit.

3:58 AM EST  
Blogger Furriner said...

On second thought, probably not five minutes.

4:06 AM EST  
Blogger Summer said...

So true, that how I started loving perfume

11:18 PM EST  

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