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.
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.
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.
SMOKY AVOCADO VINAIGRETTE
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
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
- 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.
- 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.
DID YOU KNOW…
…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.