A beautiful pineapple had been setting on my kitchen counter for a few days, getting riper and riper, until it had its own following of fruit flies. It had been a while since I made a fruit salsa, why not pineapple salsa? Fruit salsas are so refreshing, especially during the muggy summertime. That’s when mangoes are ripe and mango salsa is one of my favorites, but pineapple salsa isn’t far behind, and is my first choice this time of year when local mangoes are not in season.
I have seen salsa recipes for kiwi, peaches, banana, apple, berries. There seems to be no limit to what can be used. I am partial to tropical fruits, but experiment and use whatever ripe fruits you can find.
If you already know how to make a tomato-based salsa, you know how to make a fruit salsa. The only difference is to omit the garlic. Garlic and fruit do not make good companions in a salsa.
I never use a recipe when making salsa. I guess I eye-ball it, adjusting ingredients as I go — a little more lime juice, some more onion. This time I measured so that you would have a recipe to follow. Of course you can, and should, adjust this to suit your own taste. The amount of minced chile you use is probably the biggest variable.There will always be someone who says it isn’t hot enough and another person will think it too hot. I aim for a moderate heat level. For those who want more heat, you can always offer a bottle of hot sauce.
To clean a fresh pineapple, set it on its side and cut off the top and bottom ends. Then stand it up and, holding the top end in your left hand (if you are right-handed), start at the top with a sharp serrated knife and cut the skin off, running the knife from top to bottom of the pineapple. Keep going all the way around until it is completely skinned. Now set it on its side and remove the eyes. If you skinned it thickly, you may have already removed most of them. If you skinned it thinly, there probably are eyes to remove. Cutting at an angle, aiming towards the eyes, cut along both sides of a row of eyes so that you have removed a thin wedge. Continue until all eyes are removed. You are now ready to slice, or slice and cut into cubes or spears.
2 cups minced fresh pineapple, papaya or mango
1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves and soft stems, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped (you can use white or yellow onion, but red onion gives a nice color contrast)
1-2 tablespoons fresh jalapeño or serrano chile, minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1 or 2 squeezes of lime juice
Combine all ingredients and let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes to give flavors time to meld.
Fruit salsa would make a colorful topping for grilled chicken breast or coconut fish fillets. It’s also different and interesting when served with tacos. And I’ve seen guests spoon it on their plates to eat as a fruit salad with a twist.