So, in a movie that doesn't QUITE make Hollywood and California the star, but which definitely "visits" the tropics through the tropical nightclub in Florida, grapefruit seemed like a natural addition to the menu. This particular one is quite a simple recipe, from my 1942 edition of the American Woman's Cook Book by Ruth Berolzheimer, an extremely popular cookbook that was in print from 1938 through the 1960s.
Grapefruit Salad (1942)
"Peel grapefruit and free the sections from all membrane and seeds. Cut sections in half, crosswise; lay on a bed of lettuce leaves and serve with French dressing. Sprinkle with tarragon leaves or with mint if desired."
Supreming citrus (which is the official term for peeling and freeing citrus from the membrane) is extremely time-consuming work and doesn't always turn out how you'd like. Which is why if you'd rather use modern canned grapefruit, please feel free. The French dressing referred to in this recipe is NOT the modern, gloppy red stuff. It is, in fact, code for vinaigrette. I made my own, in my adaptation of the recipe, below. There's even a little maple syrup, to New England things up a bit.
1 large pink grapefruit for every two people
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
thinly sliced red leaf lettuce
Peel the grapefruit with a sharp knife over a small bowl to catch the juice. Using the knife, carefully cut each section away from the membrane on either side and cautiously remove, trying to keep the section intact. When done, squeeze the remaining pulp for juice into the bowl.
Arrange the lettuce on each plate, then add the sections (you can cut them in half, or not). If you get 8 intact sections, you're doing better than I did. With a fork, mash up any remaining pulp into the juice (fish out any seeds), then add the olive oil, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard and whisk with the fork to combine. Pour the dressing over the sections and lettuce and serve.
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