Saturday, June 19, 2010

Grilled Pineapple

Summer can be too hot for cooking- especially indoors.
Dinner isn't usually a problem since you've got the grill, but sometimes you want something sweet.

Baking indoors is too hot, and you have tried baking a pie on the grill because you were told you were not allowed to use the oven- the grill is the only option, naturally (so you are told).
Well, actually, it turns out NOT to be a good idea, and although it was years ago it happens to be something you would rather not revisit.

You still want something sweet, but ice cream or a popsicle just aren't what you want.
Instead, you could try grilling fruit. ESPECIALLY if you already have the grill heated for steak or something!
You'd definitely want to try firm fruit such as stone fruit... peaches, plums, nectarines.
Another very good option is pineapple- it will hold it's shape, take on some nice caramelized grill marks, and can be dressed up a bit with other flavors.

Fresh pineapple is so nice, and the texture and flavor are better than something canned- so I would definitely have fresh.
Make sure you have a ripe pineapple! Scent would be a good indicator, as would the fact that a leaf comes out of the top of the pineapple without pulling very hard. If you have to wrestle the pineapple for it to give up a leaf, it's not the one you want.
But, I suppose if you can do nothing else, you could use canned pineapple (not that I really condone this type of behavior).

The original recipe here called for curry powder. Well, I didn't happen to find any when looking through the spice cabinet, and I wasn't really sure I wanted curry powder with my dessert. Time to make some changes...
I decided the other ingredients could imaginably be along the lines of a "Caribbean" theme. There is an option of jerk seasoning for the authentic Jamaican flavor, but not for dessert.
So, I decided on some spices that grow in the general Caribbean locale for my marinade.

I realize that many people have never peeled a whole pineapple.
I didn't take photos as I was cutting! I thought about adding a video here, but I couldn't quite find what I liked- they were too lengthy, too "fancy" in cutting style, cut in a way we really don't want a pineapple cut for this particular recipe...

You can find something on YouTube if you like, but I will try to explain a little here.
First you cut off the top and the bottom of the pineapple. Stand the pineapple up, and using a large sharp knife cut off the skin in strips following the curve of the pineapple, turning the pineapple as you go. Make sure it's just a layer of the skin, but enough so you don't have "eyes" left in the fruit, but please make sure not to cut off too much of the pineapple. If you have any "eyes" left in the fruit you can use a small paring knife to cut them out.

Cut the pineapple lengthwise into 8 rounds (if it's easier you can cut the fruit in half, each half in half, and then each quarter in half). Remove the core from each slice, either with a paring knife or a small round cookie cutter.

You don't need a grill, you could use a grill pan on the stove instead.

Grilled Pineapple
Serves 4 to 8

1 3-4 lb. pineapple, "peeled", cut into 8 rings, and cored
1/2 c shredded coconut
1/4 c rum, preferably dark
1/2 c packed dark brown sugar
1 t allspice
1/4 t cloves
1/4 t nutmeg (fresh ground if possible)

lime wedges and vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)

Whisk rum, brown sugar, and spices together in a shallow pan. Place pineapple rings in pan and marinate 30 minutes to an hour, turning occasionally.
Toast coconut in a dry frying pan over medium heat, tossing and stirring until it is browned (5-10 minutes). Remove from heat and pour coconut onto a plate to stop the cooking.
Preheat grill to medium-high. Place pineapple slices on grill, turning at least once, and cook until heated through and grill marks appear (5-10 minutes).
Reserve the extra marinade.
Serve pineapple with extra marinade, toasted coconut, lime wedges, and vanilla ice cream.

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