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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wretched excess, grapefruit style

Sauteed Grapefruit Chicken with Salad and Grapefruit Honey Dressing
It's that season...big boxes of all manner of citrus fruit everywhere...in the grocery stores, being hawked by your local high school band members, in the mail from far-away relatives.  Tangelos, tangerines, big navel oranges, small blood oranges, and of course grapefruit.

Personally, after one grapefruit breakfast, I'm done for the year.  But I've still got plenty to use up in the pantry.  The obvious secondary use for excess grapefruit is cocktails, but one Greyhound (like a Screwdriver, but with grapefruit juice) is also enough for me. 

And so I start marinating stuff.  Shrimp, chicken, salad...grapefruit brings a surprisingly sparkly and probably novel flavor to the party.  Here is a recipe I've previously blogged about for grapefruit marinated shrimp.  Today I've zested and juiced 2 medium grapefruit and I plan to get 3 dishes out them for 2 meals. 

Juice and zest divided: 4 tbsp zest with salt and pepper
for Sauteed Chicken (bottom left), 1/2 tsp zest and
1/4 cup juice for salad dressing (top), 1 cup juice
for Un-Buffalo Chicken Tenders (bottom right)

The salad dressing is a variation of a recipe from the classic red gingham Better Homes & Gardens cookbook and makes enough for 8 servings, so you can serve it with 2 separate meals.  The Un-Buffalo Chicken Tenders is a variation of this recipe that I created for my husband's grandmother so that I could "split" the recipe between a spicy version and non-spicy version without needing to cook a totally separate meal for those who prefer to skip the heat.  An overnight marinade in any type of acid (like hot sauce, citrus juice or apple cider vinegar) makes for beautiful fork-tender sauteed chicken. 

Both meals can be prepped ahead, though only the zest-marinated chicken can be frozen for any significant length of time.  The dressing will keep several days in the fridge.  The dressing will also require an immersion blender, electric whisk, food processor or stand blender to properly combine the honey with the other ingredients.

Be sure when you season your dishes not to go overboard with salt.  Citrus hits the same points on the tongue as salt so even a moderate amount of salt will be intensified in combination with citrus zest.

A tip about juicing any citrus fruit...put the whole fruit in the microwave for 10 seconds before juicing, especially if you've taken it straight from the fridge.

Sauteed Grapefruit Chicken with Salad and Grapefruit Honey Dressing
Makes 4 servings

For chicken:
1 lb. chicken breast, cut into 1" chunks
3-4 tbsp grapefruit zest from 1 or 2 grapefruits
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp water or chicken stock
1/4 cup sliced almonds
mixed greens or torn romaine or iceberg lettuce (about 8 cups for 4 servings)
grapefruit slices (optional)

Dressing, pre-emulsification
For dressing:
1/4 cup grapefruit juice
1/2 tsp grapefruit zest
1/3 cup honey
3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
pinch dry ginger

To prep ahead, toss chicken with zest, oil, salt and pepper.  Freeze, if desired.  To cook, thaw.  Saute over medium-high heat 5-10 minutes, until browned and cooked through.  Add water or stock to the skillet and boil, scraping up browned bits, until the liquid has thickened into a glaze (1-2 minutes).

In a small dry skillet, toast almonds over medium heat about 5 minutes, until lightly browned.  Stir often to avoid burning.

Meanwhile, combine all dressing ingredients and process well with stick blender, stand blender or food processor. 

Plate 2 cups of greens, topped with 1/4 of chicken and 2 tbsp dressing.  Garnish with grapefruit slices, if you still need to get rid of some citrus.

Un-Buffalo Chicken Tenders
Makes 4 servings

1 lb. chicken tenders
3/4-1 cup grapefruit juice (from 1-2 grapefruits, remainder from above recipe)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter

Mix chicken with grapefruit and marinate overnight. 

On Dinner Day, drain chicken.  Mix flour with salt and pepper.  Dredge chicken in flour.  Heat 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter together in large skillet over medium heat.  Fry 1/3 of chicken strips 3 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.  Wipe out skillet and repeat with remaining oil, butter and chicken.  Serve if desired with dressing and salad from above recipe.

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