Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann
There’s fruit salad, and then there’s fruit as a main component of salad. The former turns into a soggy, oxidized mess, macerating in its neighbor’s juices. Save it for the 12-year-old after-soccer-practice crowd. For a more grown-up take, use large spears of roasted pineapple to build a sophisticated salad fit to impress your dinner date that you think you might, maybe, actually, really like this time.
If you like grilled pineapple, you’re gonna love roasted pineapple. It has a more thoroughly caramelized flavor that permeates the whole spear, and an even more intense sweetness. Although grilled pineapple would be incredible in this dish, I enjoy the intense flavors you get from roasting. The extra time it spends in the oven leads to more water evaporation and a concentration of the natural sugars. This roasted pineapple salad is a fantastic option for anyone who doesn’t have access to a grill, or anyone who happens upon a pineapple in the winter months. Finish with five minutes under the broiler for a little char, and you’re mostly done.
Plate two spears of the warm pineapple on a dish (I like to criss-cross them), and top the roasted fruit with three or four generous blobs of burrata. You could even go for a full burrata ball here for a complete display of cheese-opulence, and I would applaud you. Tear up some fresh basil or mint and scatter it over the top, then drop in a smattering of salted walnuts. Finish with a drizzle of white balsamic over the entire plate and dust with flaky salt and chili flakes. You can use dark balsamic in a pinch, but white balsamic is fruitier and brighter in flavor, which I think is a better match. The warm pineapple dotted with creamy-cool burrata, sweet-acidity from the pineapple, salty-bitterness from the walnuts, and warming spice from the chili flakes, creates an alluring finished dish that is both disarmingly complex and perfectly balanced.
This dish is a great vegetarian option, but the meat-inclined could easily add a mound of shredded prosciutto or a sprinkle of crispy bacon. Although the following recipe gives you measurements, the great part about this salad is that you can adjust the quantities of fruit to cheese, walnuts, and spice to meet your preferences.
Roasted Pineapple Salad with Burrata
- 4 ¾-inch spears of pineapple
- 1 ball of burrata
- ½ cup salt roasted walnuts (pieces or halves)
- 3 or 4 fresh mint and basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes (I use calabrian peperoncino chili flakes)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- White balsamic vinegar for finishing
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
Place the pineapple spears on the parchment-lined sheet tray and bake for 25-30 minutes. Flipping once. Finish by broiling one side for 5 minutes. (If you were in a mad rush, you could just broil each side of the pineapple for 5 minutes per side. You’d miss that concentrated sweetness, but it’ll still be great.)
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Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann
Criss-cross two spears per plate. Place half a ball of burrata on each plate. Cut segments of the cheese to place decoratively amongst the pineapple. Scatter half of the walnuts over each plate. Tear up the mint and basil leaves, roughly, and drop them over the top. Finish with a drizzle of white balsamic vinegar, and top each serving with ¼ teaspoon each of the chili flakes and salt. Enjoy immediately (and secretly muse about your plans for the whole second burrata ball after your date leaves).
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