By Erin Walgamuth
On Saturday afternoon my daughter asked if we could have tacos for dinner. We all love Mexican food so, of course, the answer was, “Sure”. I already had everything I needed to make the tacos except salsa.
I did have some ripe tomatoes, onion and cilantro. I also had some pineapple spears from Trader Joe’s, one of my daughter’s favorite snacks.I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. My husband made some Margaritas…always appreciated by this cook. I fired up the grill as it was a truly summer-like evening and started grilling the ingredients for a delicious salsa.
Grilled Pineapple Salsa
4 ripe (But not mushy) tomatoes
10 oz ripe pineapple spears
1 medium red onion
4 garlic cloves finely chopped or use a garlic press
1 oz dark chocolate
1 teaspoon chipotle chili in adobo sauce
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon honey
5 pinches of salt or to taste
Olive oil for brushing
*You can find small cans of Chipotle Chilies in Adobo sauce in the Hispanic section of most grocery stores. These are Jalapeño chilies that have been smoked until dry, and then put in to a spicy sauce made of ground chilies, spices, herbs and vinegar. It is VERY spicy, so start with the 1 teaspoon. If you don’t care for too much heat, try a ½ a teaspoon and go from there.
Wash tomatoes and cut off stem ends. Slice tomatoes across width wise into ½ inch thick slices, place in a 13 x 9 glass baking dish. If you are using Roma tomatoes, slice them down the center in half, length wise. Peel the onion and cut off tip leaving the stem end in tact. Slice onion across width wise into ½ thick slices. You will have about three slices still attached to the stem. Place onion slices in baking dish with tomatoes. Place pineapple spears in baking dish.
Brush the tomatoes, onion and pineapple with olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over both sides of tomatoes and onion, let rest.
In the bowl of a food processor put garlic, honey, chocolate, chipotle chili, cumin, cinnamon, cilantro and oregano, let sit while you grill.
Cook veggies and pineapple on a clean grill set on medium-low heat for five minutes each side. I use a large grilling spatula to turn the vegetables and tongs for the pineapple. Return veggies and pineapple to the glass baking dish. Carefully slice off the stem and any charred bits from the onions. Put hot tomatoes and onion in bowl of the food processor, let sit for one minute (This will allow the chocolate to begin melting). Pulse the mixture to combine well. Remove pineapple to a cutting board and pour any juices left in the baking dish into the tomato mixture, pulse. Add salt to taste. Slice pineapple spears in half length wise (Or thirds if very large) then cut into small tortilla chip compatible size pieces width wise. Pour salsa into a glass bowl and stir in pineapple. You will have approximately about 3 1/2 cups of salsa.
Add salt to taste. The salsa has a nice smoky flavor from the grill and the chipotle chili. I think the salsa is better the day after it’s made. We did have to add more salt, but this is such an individual preference. I always like to taste as I go, then add more salt if needed.
You can keep this salsa in the refrigerator for 5 days. I spoon salsa into a separate bowl to serve with tortilla chips. This way you don’t have to worry about storing salsa that has been “Double dipped”, shall we say.
Add more pineapple if you like, for that matter, add more of anything if you like.
Erin Walgamuth has been an assistant Food Stylist for television and print for the past 26 years and writes this column using her own recipes. Check out her other creations in our Hometown Recipe section.