I first had this salsa about ten years ago, on one of the hottest days of the summer in Atlanta. 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 sweetend 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. The original recipe, from an 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 salsa benefits from a little sitting time, so it's worth a little planning ahead. —Merrill Stubbs
- Makes about 2 cups
large tomatillos, ripe but firm, skins removed and washed
medium yellow onion
Olive oil for grilling
chopped dried pineapple (the sweetened kind)
Large pinch red chili flakes
canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce, plus 1 teaspoon adobo
Good tortilla chips for serving
- Heat a grill to medium-high. Slice the tomatillos and onion in half across their bellies and put on a baking sheet with a small bowl of olive oil and a brush. Take everything out to the grill.
- Brush the cut sides of the tomatillos and onion lightly with oil and arrange cut-side-down on the grill. Cook the tomatillos for 3 to 5 minutes, until you see clear char marks (make sure they don't start to get soft, though). Turn them over and grill briefly on the other side, about a minute. Remove to the baking sheet to cool while you continue to grill the onion.
- Turn the onion after about 10 minutes -- they should have a nice char to them at this point, and the cooked side will have started to soften a little. Cook them for about 5 minutes on the other side and then remove from the grill.
- Once the onion and tomatillos have cooled enough to handle, roughy chop them and add them to the bowl of a food processor. Add the pineapple, salt, chili flakes and chipotle with adobo. Pulse several times, scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to pulse until you have a fine salsa. (I take it almost to the point of a puree, but the texture is really up to you.)