These days, pineapples are available year-round at the store, so you may not know that they're actually at their peak between the months of March and July. The best way to enjoy these tropical fruits? Skip the can and select the largest, plumpest specimen you can find, preferably one with a little give. Trim and cut it — then savor its succulence with a fresh fruit salad.
Pineapples have traditionally been employed in tropical fruit salads, where they complement the flavors of papayas, mangoes, and toasted coconut. But don't overlook a savory application. Combine the fruit with cucumbers, tomatoes, and herbs in a fiery Asian vinaigrette for a sweet-hot twist. Make it a full meal by adding shredded rotisserie chicken or garlicky grilled shrimp. Aching for a taste of the tropics? Decide whether to go the sweet or salty route when you read more.
1/2 cup shredded coconut Serves 6 to 8. 1 large garlic clove Makes 6 servings.
1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 ripe papaya, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 ripe cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
6 fresh mint leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (2-inch-long) fresh serrano or jalapeño chile, minced, including seeds
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
1/2 seedless cucumber (often plastic-wrapped), halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, cored, then sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick (2 cups)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
2 medium tomatoes (1 lb total), cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Serves 6 to 8.
1 large garlic clove
Makes 6 servings.