Grilled Pineapple and Onion Salsa

MAKES: About 21/2 cups

TIME: 20 minutes

Grilled fruit makes a fabulous base for salsa; its caramelized sweetness is offset perfectly by the tang of the lime juice and the crisp heat from the chiles. Use this sauce to dress a green salad, as a dip for tacos, or alongside Cheesy Baked Red Bean Cakes or Huevos Rancheros.

1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into thick rings (see Preparing Pineapple;canned rings are okay; drain excess juices)

1 large red onion, cut into thick slices

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced fresh chile (like jalapeo or Thai), or to taste, or hot red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste

1 stalk lemongrass, peeled, trimmed, and minced (see Specialty Herbs for Enthusiasts)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Thai basil or mint leaves

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a charcoal or gas grill to fairly low heat and put the rack about 4 inches from the heat source. Brush the pineapple and onion slices with the olive oil; if you’re worried about the slices falling through the grate, thread them on soaked wooden skewers. Cook, turning once or twice, until soft and slightly charred, about 8 minutes total. Remove the slices as they finish cooking and, when cool enough to handle, discard the skewers and chop into bite-sized chunks, saving as much of the juice as possible.

Put the pineapple and onion into a medium bowl with the chile, lemongrass, basil, and lime juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more chile, lime, or salt as needed.


Grilled Apricot and Onion Salsa. If you can get good apricots and it’s a big if this is terrific; but it’s not bad with good dried apricots, soaked in water or wine to cover until soft: Substitute about 8 halved apricots for the pineapple, a tablespoon of peeled and minced fresh ginger for the lemongrass, and lemon for the lime juice.

Grilled Peach and Corn Salsa. A nice midsummer salsa: Replace the pineapple with 3 or 4 ripe peaches, halved, and use a tablespoon of peeled and minced fresh ginger instead of the lemongrass; add a cob or two of Corn on the Cob, Grilled or Roasted and 2 chopped scallions. Use lemon or lime juice.