I can imagine this accompanying just about anything you plan to prepare for Father’s Day, or any other warm summer evening, since chances are good that you’re going to be grilling anyway.  The colors are beautiful, the sweet flavors heightened by having been grilled, and the slightly smoky avocado vinaigrette brings it all together.

Let me show you a good way to break down a pineapple and get it ready for the grill.

First, take off the top.  Next, slice off the bottom.  You want it to sit squarely on your cutting board.

Look at the cut surface of the pineapple.  See how deeply the spines penetrate into the fruit?  Be sure you cut deeply enough when removing the peel to adequately remove them.  Embrace the fact that there is a fair amount of waste on a pineapple.  Begin slicing from top to bottom all the way around the fruit.

My second cut will overlap my first, the third the second, and so on, to be sure that all the spines are removed.

Get rid of all the trimmings, and wipe your board free of any spines left on it.

Now, slice straight down through the center of the pineapple, cutting it in half.  Lay each half flat, and cut each in half, effectively quartering the fruit.

Separate each quarter, and leaving it on the board, slice through the pineapple just above the visible core at a 45 degree angle.  Dispose of the pieces of core.

Again lay each quarter face down and cut it in half the long way, dividing in into 8 sections.

Now you’re ready to cut up your red onion.  Remove both ends, and peel it.  Slice it into pieces 1/2″ thick.

Slice the avocado in half the long way and remove the pit.  Do not peel it.

Pour olive oil into a shallow baking dish.  Place pineapple sections in the dish, and use your hands to turn them over and spread oil over them all.  Remove them to a plate.  Do the same with the red onions and with the avocado halves (you only need to oil the cut sides).  Season all with salt and pepper.

Arrange pineapple sections on grill grate so that they are perpendicular to the ridges.  You really don’t want them to slip through into the fire!  Grill on all sides just until good char marks appear, about 4 to 5 minutes per side, depending how hot your fire is.  When done, remove to a plate.  Do the same with the red onions.  While the fruits are cooling, place the avocado halves on the grill and close the lid.  Close the upper and lower dampers almost all the way.  You should see some good smoke rising from the grill.  Grill avocado for 5 minutes, just to infuse it with some of the smoky flavor.  Remove to your plate.


Makes about 1 cup

1 gently smoked avocado

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 teaspoons soy sauce

Half of the grilled onions, diced

Grilling juices

Sea or kosher salt to taste

Sriracha or Sambal Olek to taste

Lime wedges for serving

Handful of chopped cilantro leaves and stems for garnish

  1. Place avocado, sesame oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, diced onions, and juices that have accumulated from the grilled pineapple and onions in the bowl of a food processor or into a blender.  Purée until smooth.
  2. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Sriracha or Sambal Olek.  I actually didn’t use any salt, thanks to the fish and soy sauces, and I started with about 1/2 teaspoon of Sambal Olek.

To prepare onions for serving, dice each slice into 1/4″ pieces.  Arrange pineapple on a serving plate like the spokes of a wheel. Mound some dressing in the center, then garnish with the grilled onions, cilantro, and lime wedges.  Serve immediately.


…that there is a way to cut up citrus fruits that makes it much easier to squeeze their juices out when they’re used as a garnish?  Take our lime, for example.  Instead of cutting it end-to-end, cut it through the middle.  Then cut each half into quarters.  Yes, they look smaller, but they’re all the same size, and more of the fruit sections are exposed, which lends them to give up their juices much more readily.

About thesolitarycook

I'm a chef, a cook, a teacher, a reader, a writer, a bike-rider, a dog- and cat-woman
This entry was posted in Condiments, Meatless Monday, RECIPES, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Karen Rush says:

    Aside from your wonderful engagement with baking (which my life experience has deprived me of) we seem to have come to the same place in terms of food flavors, technique and life’s journey. When I was in boarding school in Queensland, my sister and I spent our term breaks with our beloved paternal grandmother in Brisbane. To earn extra money to fund movie going, we once fronted up at a pineapple factory for a few days work. We lasted a day but earned enough money for our needs. It was grueling, noisy, relentless. What we did learn to do was prepare the pineapples for canning. Your guide to cutting a pineapple was genius – perfect. After the trauma subsided over years, I began to eat pineapple again. My favorite way has been to cut the pineapple as you have but make the pieces bit-size, sprinkle with brown sugar and grill. Great for the end of a meal with vanilla ice-cream. I do the same with mangos when they are abundant and cheap. Our other common go-to flavors are chilli in all it’s forms, cilantro (called coriander in my world), the Asian suite of sesame oil, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar and various chilli pastes and sauces. Your recipe looks and is fabulous. I know because I can taste it now. I have always felt most at home gastronomically in Calfornia when in the US because the food is so familiar to my taste buds and intestinal tract. The only caveat to that is sublime Boston clam chowder and unbelievable crab cakes from around the towns of the Chesapeake Bay that make me feel that perhaps in a previous life I lived there – to eat them is to feel like I am coming home. France and Italy … well what can I say. At this time of year I would definitely love to be there. Not to live there but just to come again long enough to sample the wonderful array of foods.

    Once more, like a broken record, I say thank you for generously sharing your food, the techniques of preparation and snippets of yourself. All terrific. So looking forward to meeting you in New York.

  2. Well we know who the adult is here, and it’s not I. I imagine most of us have food phobia stories. Mine is long-neck clams. My parents terrorized us with them when we were children. We lived on the East Coast, so seafood was abundant. I loved all of it, fin fish and shellfish, but drew the line at those clams that I can picture perfectly to this day. My parents made a clam boil one night, which I am sure was exciting and exotic and heavenly to them. But not to me and my sister. We thought those clams were the most disgusting-looking and -tasting things ever. And we still do. So I admire you for overcoming the pineapple experience. I love your description of a “California palate.” It’s quite apt. New York is going to be such fun!

  3. J Breslouf says:

    This looks delicious – I love the ingredients and the ed result is such a beautiful and colorful presentation! I’m saving this one!

  4. putneyfarm says:

    Looks great. Nice tip on the limes, that really does work. We love to grill pineapple and look forward to trying the avocado vinaigrette.

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