Tag Archives: grilling

Grilled Pineapple and Jalapeño Salsa

9 Jul

This recipe was sort of an accident.  Have you ever started thinking about something or doing something and then, the more you thought about or continued to do that thing, the more entrenched you became in the very specifics of that thing?  (I sincerely hope I am not the only person who possesses this particular trait…though I would not be at all surprised if I was).  Well, that’s what happened with this salsa.

It started out so innocently.  I found some lovely fresh pineapple at the market.  When I got the pineapple home, I decided that I would eat it with my lunch.  Then I decided that I would have some grilled fish for lunch.  Then I decided that I would put the pineapple on the grilled fish.  Wait, no.  I would make a pineapple salsa, because I also had an aging jalapeño on hand that I wanted to use up.  Hold on—if I am going to be grilling some fish, why not also grill the pineapple?  Grilled pineapple is wonderful.  I’ll do that.

I wonder what would happen if I also grilled the jalapeño?  And these onions?  Hey, look—I just spotted the bread on the counter and, man, doesn’t a sandwich sound great right about now?  I know, I’ll grill everything!  Fish, pineapple, jalapeño, onions, bread—everything!

And do you know that?  I don’t think I have ever benefitted so much from a thought process that was not so much a process as it was a series of linked ideas that, lucky for both you and me, totally worked out.  Obviously, this worked out for me because I had a phenomenal lunch that day.  It works out for all of you, because now you too can have the same phenomenal lunch that I did, only you’ll have a much better idea of how things are going to turn out.  They are going to turn out to be delicious, I promise you.

Last Year: Indian Spiced Smoked Spareribs

Grilled Pineapple and Jalapeño Salsa Recipe

1 or 2 fresh jalapeños (depending on how spicy you want your salsa, though I find that grilling the jalapeños greatly tempers their heat—I used 1 jalapeño, but I wished I had used 2), sliced in half lengthwise, seeds and ribs removed (or, for even more heat, set aside the seeds and add them in later when everything gets mixed in together)

¼ of a red onion, separated into layers

10 ounces fresh pineapple, sliced into long strips

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

juice of ½ a lime

salt to taste

Heat an outdoor grill or a stovetop grill pan over medium high heat.  Lightly oil grates.  When grill or grill pan is heated, place onion layers and sliced jalepano on grill.  Grill until the onions are soft and sweet and the jalapenos are just starting to turn dark at the edges, about 5 minutes, turning once.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Place pineapple strips on the grill, and grill until just starting to caramelize, about 3 minutes per side.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Allow all three ingredients to cool to room temperature.

When cooled, finely dice both onion and jalapeno.  Dice pineapple in to ½-inch chunks.  Combine in a medium bowl, along with cilantro, lime juice, and salt.  Toss everything to combine, and add more lime juice and salt as you see fit.

To make a grilled tuna steak sandwich to accompany your salsa, heat your grill over high heat.  Oil the grates.  Take 1 large tuna steak and cut it in half horizontally, making two thinner tuna steaks.  Season both sides of each steak with salt and pepper.  Place tuna steaks on oiled grill and grill until the very middle of each steak is still pink, about 1 minute per side.  As you cook your tuna steak, you will see the color change, becoming paler as it moves up the steak.  When you grill the first side, you will know to flip the steak over when the pale color has moved about halfway up the steak.  After you flip the steak it will only take another 60 seconds or so to finish cooking the steak.  The fish will continue to cook a bit after you remove it from the grill.

To assemble a sandwich, place a grilled tuna steak on a piece of grilled or toasted bread.  Top with slices of avocado, a large scoop of salsa, then place another piece of grilled or toasted bread on top.  Slice in half for easier eating.  So delicious.

Grilled Peaches and Sausages with Almond Herb Bulgur

21 Jul

There is a fierce debate amongst people concerning whether or not sweet and savory foods belong together.  I imagine this debate is much like the fracas surrounding the polarizing opinions people have about cilantro (It tastes like soap!  No, it’s delightful!), and, to be completely honest, I totally understand why.

Up until a few years ago, I, too, was not a fan of mixing my sweet foods with my savory or salty foods.  Oh, sure, I was amenable to a nibbling of sweet and salty roasted nuts, but, really, who isn’t?  My aversion to sweet foods that mingled with savory foods was more an issue of one component of the meal taking precedent over every other flavor aspect.  Salted caramels were always too salty, and sprinkling brown sugar or maple syrup on winter squash always seemed like a bit much to me.  If you tried to talk to me about pairing fried chicken with waffles and maple syrup, you could be sure that I would shut you down immediately.  No.  Don’t even talk about it

Then, right around the end of 2005, newly pregnant and completely and wholly averse to all foods everywhere, something happened to my taste buds.  At first I was repelled by food, unable to glimpse any food at all without feeling like my stomach was going to violently force itself out of my body.  Then, after 100 solid days of nausea, I emerged from my unintentional fast as a timid and cautious eater.  Cut to around six months in, my taste buds all out of whack and not craving certain foods so much as certain sensations, and suddenly I could be found standing in the middle of the kitchen, spicy grilled chicken breast in once hand, bowl of vanilla yogurt in the other, dipping meat into what was essentially tart vanilla pudding and imploring people to try this new concoction of mine because, oh, man, it was so mind blowingly good, you just couldn’t believe it.  Sad to admit, I ended up enjoying that particular combination of foods on more than one occasion.

Five-plus years later, I’ve now developed quite an affinity for the savory and the sweet combined together, though in much subtler form.  Though I still don’t see the point of sweetening up a nice, innocent winter squash, I definitely see nothing wrong with letting the sweet mellowness of fruit sit alongside a piece of grilled meat.  Peaches, in particular, with their affinity for being grilled, are a perfect companion for savory grilled sausages, and, when sharing a plate with a light and herby side dish, it’s tough to imagine a more perfect combination of savory, salty, and sweet.  Well, unless you choose to eat this, of course.  Or this.

Grilled Peaches and Sausages with Almond Herb Bulgur

2 peaches, cut in half and the pits removed

4 link sausages (I used chicken fontina sausage, which was fantastic)

1 cup fine bulgur

2 ½ cups boiling water

½ cup gently packed fresh herbs of your choice (I used parsley, mint, and basil), finely chopped

¼ cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped

½ tablespoon butter

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, combine bulgur with boiling water.  Stir to combine, then cover tightly and allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Heat an outdoor grill or a grill pan on top of the stove to medium high heat.  Brush the surface of the grill with vegetable oil.  Place peaches on the grill, cut side down.  Place sausages on the grill.  After 3 minutes of grilling, gently turn over one peach to see if grill marks have formed.  If grill marks are visible, turn over the remaining peaches, and continue to grill for another 3-4 minutes, until peaches appear juicy  and soft.  Remove peaches from grill, and continue to grill sausages, turning occasionally, until they are cooked through.  After being cooked, both peaches and sausages should be removed to a plate and covered.

When bulgur has soaked for 30 minutes, fluff with a fork and taste for doneness.  Bulgur should be soft and fluffy in consistency.  Drain bulgur in a fine mesh sieve to remove any remaining water, then return to the bowl in which is soaked.  In a small pan, heat butter over medium low heat.  When butter has melted, add chopped almonds and gently fry in butter, stirring occasionally, until almonds have started to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add almonds to bulgur.  Add chopped herbs to bulgur.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and toss to combine.

To serve, slice each sausage on the diagonal into oval coins.  Slice each peach half into fifths.  Serve peaches and sausages on top of bulgur, pouring over any juices that collected on the bottom of the plate on which the peaches and sausages were resting.

Serves 4.

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