shrimp, grapefruit, scallions & garlic

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In the world of citrus, grapefruits are sadly overlooked and I’m here to change all that. Yes, oranges (and their extended family) have had their day, lemons are on the short list of have-to-haves of every chef the world over, limes are the up-and-comers and grapefruits have been left out in the cold. If lemons can overcome their sour reputation then, by george, so can grapefruits – kinda like what a few of these folks need to do, but that’s another story. So, I got to thinking (something I do from time to time!) – if lemons can hang with garlic and shrimp then let’s give lemons the night off and invite grapefruit to the party instead – and so this is where they’re headed – to slobber all over succulent, garlicky shrimp.

grapefruit/sections

First you need to prep the fruit – grab a bowl, section a couple of grapefruits, (a step you’d be foolish to skip; the pith/membrane is bitter, which probably has something to do with our issues with grapefruit in the first place), add olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper and a little something distinctive, and in this case, tart, lemony sumac has the honours – it is to the Middle East as soy sauce is to Asia, as chilli is to Mexico, as maple syrup is to a Canuck. And in this recipe it pushes the citrus element, being all lemony and such.

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Simply prep the grapefruit, mix the shrimp with the spices, get a pan hot, and let the heat do the rest. If you’re not aware, when fruit and heat meet – magic is happening right before your eyes, between your lips and under your nose – sugars caramelize, flavors intensify, flesh softens – give me a moment – ok I’m back … anything coming into contact with hot fruit will never be the same again (including you) – grilled, seared, poached or sautéed, fruits will bring it every single time! Here, the grapefruit breaks down into a tangy saucy salsa to slurp up alongside succulent, smoky garlicky shrimp! Ok, I’m done.

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1. Rinse your shrimp.

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2. Put olive oil in a bowl large enough to hold the shrimp.

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3. This is sumac – a plain ‘ole regular spice in the Middle East.

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4. It goes in the bowl along with smoky paprika & garlic.

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5. Give it a good whisk.

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6. Add the shrimp and toss to thoroughly coat.

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7. Don’t forget the salt & pepper – I often do.

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8. But not this time.

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9. Start prepping the grapefruit – be sure to always give your grapefruits (and any fruit you cut into) a good rinse to avoid dragging bacteria or dirt into the fruit itself – always zest first, it’s next to impossible to zest it once it’s off the fruit.

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10. Cut the ends off to give you a flat surface and begin cutting the peel away.

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11. Keep going until all the peel is off including the pith – that white bit, right there!

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12. Go over your grapefruit to make sure you got no pith!

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13. Until it looks like this, a completely bald grapefruit. You will use the guidelines right there, that Mama Nature provided, to section out the fruit, leaving just the membrane behind.

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14. You got ‘yer membrane on the left and your sections on the right. Don’t worry if the sections come apart – it’s all headed to the pan to make a sensational slurpy sauce.

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15. Cut the larger sections into 1″ pieces – it just breaks down more evenly. And there you have it – pure grapefruit & its zest. Put a large skillet over highish heat while you prep a few scallions.

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15. Give ’em the once over.

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16. Slice ’em and set aside.

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17. Put the shrimp into your preheated hot, hot skillet. Can’t you just hear the sear? Well, you can sure see it.

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18. Make sure each shrimp is touching the surface of the skillet – that’s how to sear –if they’re in a pile, steaming is what will be happening.

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19. Until it looks like this – pink and caramelized.

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20. Remove the shrimp to a plate while you make the sauce. And don’t you dare start sampling, ’cause if you do, you won’t have any left to add to the sauce! Trust me – I’m speaking from experience!

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21. All these crusty bits are big flavour and be sure to keep the pan’s heat up.

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22. Add the grapefruit & scallions.

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23. Add the honey.

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24. It’ll just melt right into the sauce. Keep cooking the sauce until it reduces and becomes slightly syrupy.

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25. Add the shrimp back to the pan and give it a good stir. Take it off the heat.

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26. Somebody’s ready for their close-up!

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27. Pile it in a bowl.

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28. Sprinkle the zest over top and dig in!

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