It was the week before my birthday. I was never one to celebrate my birthday, but Jackie insisted that birthdays were special and she was going to make it special. She had decided to take me to a restaurant owned by one of my favorite celebrity chefs. I didn’t know where we were going for a while, but unable to keep a secret, she told me where we were going the day before: Bobby Flay’s restaurant, Mesa Grill in New York City! It was an amazing surprise. It was a beautiful restaurant, and we had a table on the second level over looking the entire dining room and kitchen. I ordered a char-grilled chicken entrée which was an airline chicken breast topped with a pineapple salsa. It was served with a cornbread stuffing presented in a corn husk and steamed to perfection. The dinner ended with a decadent chocolate bread pudding, It was amazing! The whole evening was amazing. For weeks we talked about that pineapple salsa; we both craved it.
It inspired me to try to create my own version. So one summer evening, I planned a dinner of grilled tuna steaks and thought that the salsa would be the perfect fit. It was a hit! We sat on the back deck while the sun was setting and enjoyed this new creation, sipping on a glass of wine. If you are not a fan of tuna, this works equally well over grilled pork (or chicken as originally served). As you make this salsa you will obviously have pineapple left over. While your tuna is on the grill, place some of the pineapple (cut into spears) on the grill over a low heat. Serving the grilled pineapple adds to this dish as well. Grilling of the pineapple releases all the juiciness in the fruit. Grilled pineapple also makes a great topping for vanilla ice cream: simply dice the pineapple up after you grill it and top your favorite ice cream. Here is how we made a meal using this recipe. The pineapple salsa perfectly complemented the tuna steak, and it also tasted great with our cilantro lime rice. It made for a flavorful, light and healthy meal. This salsa will keep in the refrigerator for two days to enjoy with leftovers. If you have late night munchies, simply grab the salsa, a bag of tortilla chips, and a nice cold beer (preferably an amber ale such as a Yuengling Light Lager) and sit and watch a great baseball game. That is something Jackie and I love to do. She being a New York Yankee Fan and I being a Cleveland Indians fan makes for a “friendly” competitive baseball season. Food, baseball and great company is truly what makes this meal the most enjoyable.
- 1/2 fresh pineapple
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup fresh red pepper
- 1 lime (at room temperature)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- Slice pineapple into quarters, removing core and skin. Dice into 1/2″ pieces. Place in mixing bowl.
- Chop fresh cilantro and red pepper. Add to pineapple.
- Mince garlic and add to pineapple mixture.
- Roll lime on cutting board to prepare for juicing.
- Slice lime in half. Squeeze juice into pineapple mixture.
- Add kosher salt.
- Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for up to two days.