One of my favorite things during summer has always been pleasure reading; lazy days by the pool with some watermelon and a good book. Past summers have included memoirs of former presidents, scientists and books on happiness. This summer’s poolside reader is a memoir by Julia Child.
What an inspiration! This book tells of her journeys of self-discovery in France through short vignettes. I would love to have met this woman and am dying to visit Paris. Maybe after some French lessons…I feel like I need a translation dictionary sometimes just to understand some of the amazing dishes she talks about. However, one that caught my eye was an acidic, butter based sauce typically served with poached fish called beurre blanc.
Terrified by French cooking, I resolved to figure it out – one day.
This week, I volunteered with an organization called Village Harvest. This non-profit group is dedicated to working year round to bring fresh fruit to the hungry of the community. They accomplish this by harvesting fruit trees trees on personal property (with the permission of the owners, of course). The harvested fruits vary by season (citrus in early summer, peaches and plums in mid-summer and apples in the fall). They meet every week both during the week and on the weekend all around the San Francisco Bay Area. This was my second outing with them and it has been a blast both times. While I know nothing about identifying ripe fruit, safely using a long handled picker or the proper fruit picking technique, the other volunteers are patient teachers and genuinely excited I came. This week marked the end of the citrus season (we hope) – lemons, oranges and white grapefruit. After the harvest comes the best part, socializing and splitting up the damaged fruit. See the food banks and homeless shelters, like the Salvation Army, will only accept fruit with undamaged peels. Sometimes, picking or falling fruit can damage it. So, after several hours of picking, I came home with my treasure, a reusable bag full of lemons, oranges and grapefruit.
In an effort to find something to make with the grapefruit (my husband is not a fan), I came across several recipes for grapefruit beurre blanc.
It’s French (I know…but it looked amazing…like always). I took tips and ideas from several recipes and made my own version. The technique, however, came straight from Julia.
While this is a quick meal, about 30 – 40 minutes, it requires great attention and patience. It turned out so well, I’m even considering giving a few more French recipes a go…
½ cup grapefruit juice
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
½ cup dry rosé
1 shallot, chopped
1 ¼ sticks of cold butter, cut into 1 tbsp. cubes
4 tilapia filets
4 tbsp. grapefruit juice
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare 4 pieces of foil for the fish.
- Place 1 filet on each of the 4 pieces of foil. Season individually with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and 1 tbsp. grapefruit juice. Fold in the sides and roll down the top to create a foil pouch.
- In a medium sauce pan add wine, vinegar, grapefruit juice and shallot over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce down to half the original volume about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Place fish in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
- While the fish is in the oven, reduce sauce to low heat and begin adding butter, 1 tbsp. at a time. Beat with a wire whisk. Add additional butter when the previous cube is almost melted. Be sure not to get the sauce too hot or you will end up with warm butter.
- Serve tilapia with sautéed mushrooms and generous spoons of Beurre Rosé.