Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fresh Pineapple

Through the magic of globalization and greenhouses, you may be able to get fresh pineapple any time of year. If you've walked past the big leafed fruit in the produce section an moved onto the canned fruit aisle because you're unsure how to get that damn peel off, take a few minutes to watch the video, "How to Peel and Chop a Fresh Pineapple." After tasting the intensely sweet-sour delight of fresh, canned will taste like a tinny imitation.

What to Do With Pineapple

You can, of course, simply eat the chopped pieces of pineapple; it makes a great snack. Grill the pineapple rings on a grill pan for a side dish to chicken bratwurst sandwiches. Or you can give the pineapple chunks a quick sauté in a hot pan with a bit of oil. Barely brown the outside. This takes two or three minutes tops.
Skewer the pineapple chunks along with chunks of watermelon, drizzle with a bit of oil and cook them on the grill.

But one of my favorite recipes is pineapple sauce.

Pineapple Sauce
Though I've used canned pineapple for this, fresh is still better. In a food processor, pulse one to two cups of chopped pineapple, depending on how much sauce you want, just until the pineapple is broken down. Add one or two chopped jalapeno peppers per cup, depending on how much heat you want. Add a little salt, a bit of honey if you want it sweeter and a teaspoon of olive oil. Pulse again until the sauce is a smooth consistency.

For a chunkier sauce, omit the olive oil and pulse with the chopped peppers just enough to break down the pineapple.

Serve it with roasted pork loin, grilled chicken breast or grilled tofu. Add a bit of chili powder to the tofu before grilling. The combination of heat and sweet is great.

Use the sauce in desserts. Chill it and pour a little over ice cream (low fat, of course) or serve it with berries.

 Pineapple Salsa
If you want a little something to freshen up your fish dinners, try a pineapple salsa. Mix together a cup of chopped pineapple, one or two chopped jalapeno peppers, a quarter cup of finely chopped red onion and a tablespoon of cilantro. This salsa is great with fish, chicken and yes, with grilled tofu as well.

So go ahead. Peel a fresh pineapple. It's easy. 

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