I first had this salsa about ten years ago, on one of the hottest days of the summer in Atlanta. I was visiting my friend John Ryan, who had recently become acquainted with it when a co-worker brought it to a potluck. I'll admit, I was skeptical: dried pineapple in salsa? At the time, it sounded more like a science experiment than a culinary revelation. In fact, it proved to be very much the latter.
It's not just the dried pineapple (and please trust me that you must use the sweetened kind) that makes this salsa such a success, but how it plays off the smoky heat of the chipotles and the pert astringency of the tomatillos. This salsa is a symphony, not a waltz. The original recipe, from this article in the New York Times by Molly O'Neill, calls for the onion and tomatillos to be raw, and it's really pretty aggressive with the chipotles. I decided to up the smokiness by grilling the tomatillos and the onion briefly, and to cut back on the heat by reducing the amount of chipotles in adobo (I did add a pinch of red pepper flakes for brightness). The original is fantastic, but I like this version too -- it's a little more mellow but still packs a hot-sweet punch. The salsa benefits from a little sitting time, so it's worth a little planning ahead.
Adapted from the New York Times
Makes about 2 cups
- 10 large tomatillos, ripe but firm, skins removed and washed
- 1 medium yellow onion
- Olive oil for grilling
- 1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple (the sweetened kind)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Large pinch red chili flakes
- 1 canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce, plus 1 teaspoon adobo
- Good tortilla chips for serving
Photos by Jennifer Causey.
Like this post? See Merrill's post from last week: Grilled Apricots with Whipped Ricotta, Basil and Sherry Vinegar Syrup