The city of Oaxaca has many tall grapefruit trees. The fruit is put to good use in this refreshing, zippy salsa.
It is best served the day it is made.
- 2 large grapefruit, cut into segments (see NOTE)
- 4 dried pasilla (negro) chili peppers, preferably from Oaxaca
- 3 medium cloves garlic
- Coarse or kosher salt
Arrange the grapefruit segments in a serving dish in a single layer.
If you have a gas stove, use tongs to toast the whole chili peppers over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until fragrant. Turn them frequently so they don't burn. (If you have an electric stove, place the peppers in a dry skillet over low heat and cook until fragrant but not burned, turning them as needed.) Cool completely; they should be crisp.
Break the peppers into pieces into a designated spice grinder; grind to a powder.
Use the wide blade of a large knife to smash the garlic cloves on a cutting board, then sprinkle them generously with salt (a good teaspoon) and finely chop. Use the wide blade of the knife to mash the salted garlic bits into a paste (this will take a few minutes). Sprinkle the pasilla chili powder on top and mix well to form a nubbly mixture.
Just before serving, sprinkle the garlic-chili pepper powder mixture over the grapefruit.
NOTE: Use a serrated knife to slice off the ends of the fruit. Place the grapefruit on a cutting board and slice off their peels and pith, leaving as much of the fruit intact as possible. Use a small, sharp knife to cut between the membranes to separate the segments, letting them fall into a bowl as you work.
Adapted from Diana Kennedy's >"Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy"
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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