This recipe is adapted from Mario Batali’s “Spain..A Culinary Road Trip” cookbook which, frankly, is mostly a dud. The cookbook was the offshoot of a Batali PBS cooking series with Gwyneth Paltrow and Mark Bittman and other glitterati traversing Spain (think “corrupt congressional junket”). In case you have been living under a rock for twenty years, Batali is one of America’s best chefs, but he usually concentrates on Italian food (btw- we have been to a few of Mario’s restaurants, and they rock). But he went to Spain. With Gwyneth. Hmmm.
Unfortunately, the TV show was blah, Gywneth Paltrow doesn’t eat “yucky stuff”, and Mark Bittman (bless his soul) is a total bore on TV. Mario kind of golfed this one with a handicap, if you know what we mean. And, of course, there was a cookbook. The cookbook from the series is semi-decent food porn,but sometimes the recipes seem clearly, and we mean clearly, untested. But just as a bad movie may have a few good scenes, there are a few good recipes in this cookbook.
Ironically, one of the best recipes from the cookbook is a simple combination of sliced pineapple, lime zest and a drizzle of molasses. It sounds simple, but it has sweet, sour, smoky, bitter, tangy and acid flavors plus deep aromas that create a truly lovely, balanced dish (molasses is complex stuff- a good thing to remember). In a lot of ways, this dessert is like a tiki drink, and that is a good thing- it has layers of great flavors with a few surprises along the way. And, better yet, this dish takes just a few minutes to make. We are still not sure why this is really a “Spanish” recipe- as all of the ingredients are from the new world, but good recipes are hard to find, so why question the origin?
In any event, since we are in pineapple country, this recipe immediately came to mind. We tried it and it was great. The family has been “slaughtering” a pineapple every few days (the little, round sugar “Hilo” pineapples are very good) so we wanted to do more than eat the pineapple plain, and this recipe did the trick. This dish is complex enough to please the adults, but still simple enough that the kids like it, a lot. We do add the option of some crushed, salted macadamia nuts and whipped cream as sides to add some crunch, salt and creaminess to the dish. This step is optional, but the macadamias are so tasty, they are worth adding if you have them. A tiny splash of rum in the whipped cream may not be bad, either…Regardless, make this dish anytime, all the ingredients can be found at any supermarket and the dessert is truly restaurant- quality. At least Mario and Gwyneth’s trip to Spain gave us something…
Pineapple with Lime Zest and Molasses:
(Adapted from Mario Batali)
- 2 cups of pineapple (about 1/2 a medium pineapple) sliced into about 1/2 inch pieces
- Zest of 1 lime
- Molasses (not blackstrap) for drizzling
- Whipped cream (optional)
- Macadamia nuts, chopped (optional)
- Place sliced pineapple on plates.
- Zest lime over pineapple.
- Drizzle with molasses (lightly- about a tablespoon per person).
- Add a dollop of whipped cream and macadamias on the side, if you like. Serve