Make Ahead

Grilled Tomatillo and Pineapple Salsa

August 22, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Makes About 2 cups
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • me brumbaugh
    me brumbaugh
  • boulangere
  • Merrill Stubbs
    Merrill Stubbs
  • Lucie @ BCtinykitchen
    Lucie @ BCtinykitchen

7 Reviews

Lucie @. July 23, 2014
I'm from the UK and we don't have adobo sauce here, what is it and can you suggest a substitution?
Rick A. August 14, 2013
Thanks, love your cookbooks btw. Quickly becoming favorites on a weekly basis.
Rick A. August 12, 2013
Will this work with crushed canned pineapples?
Merrill S. August 12, 2013
It will be a saucier salsa, but it should work -- I'd strain the crushed pineapple first. You'll also lose the intense sweetness of the dried pineapple, so you might want to add a little sugar or honey.
me B. January 14, 2012
I love pineapple salsa, and I cannot wait to combine the Latin flavors of roasted tomatillos to the mix. I'm adding the ingredients to my grocery list right now!
boulangere August 23, 2011
I raised tomatillos in my first ever garden. My son would go fishing in the evenings with neighbors and come home with his pockets full of frogs who we would release into the garden. We came to see them of barometers of adequate moisture. When the frogs were thriving, so was the garden. They loved to hide under the massive tomatillo plants, and we felt like we were finding hidden treasure when we spotted one. And may I say that zucchini have nothing on tomatillos in terms of abundance. They were like the California equivalent of a Minnesota smelt harvest. Lovely recipe, beautiful grilled flavors, and I'll take the dried pineapple as an article of faith.
Smallpeace August 23, 2011
Being from San Diego, I have an affection for the tomatillo. Still, I find them a bit intimidating to use in recipes. Not sure why. Anyway, this is a great little recipe to keep in my back pocket. Cheers.