EVEN THE RAIN IN SPAIN IS MAINLY DELICIOUS
Spanish food holds a special place in my heart. So full of flavor and nuance. Everything in Spain is wonderful, in my mind. And so when the boss’ wife gave me a Spanish cookbook back a few years ago I pretty much knew I was going to be taking it home and spending the night with it.
The book turned out to be way more than just a cookbook. It was a culinary trip though Spain with Mario Batali, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Bittman, and Claudia Bassols. These food lovers know how to eat!
The result was “Spain – A Culinary Road Trip”, and is worth the read even if you never make any of the dishes.
But you will. Because you will at least make this one.
HOW NOT TO STARVE – IN STYLE
The culinary quartet began in Madrid, and made their way through Toledo, Bilbao, Barcelona, Granada, Oviedo, Mallorca, Valencia, and other locales, until they ended back in Madrid. Along the way they accumulated a trove of interesting recipes, visited a ton of great restaurants, and had a good few adventures. It sounds like the kind of trip I would have loved to have been on.
However, there are quite a few of the recipes that have ingredients with too many legs for my tastes…or perhaps not enough legs – I’m particular about not eating strange sea creatures that appeal to the vast majority of the population. Not being much of a fish eater, back in the 80’s I was on a trip to Africa, and spent a week on the island of Lamu, off the coast of Kenya. Everything they served contained seafood. There was fish for breakfast, fish for lunch, fish for dinner. After a number of days of picking at my food, I found what purported to be a little café that served pizza. It was, not surprisingly, fish pizza!
“What do you do if you live on Lamu, and don’t like fish?” I asked the waiter.
“NOT LIKE FISH?!” he exclaimed at me, incredulously. “You starve!”
THE PINEAPPLE BRINGS ME BACK
That said, I gravitated to a lovely little dessert in this book: “Pineapple with Lime and Molasses”, which was served to to them at the Inopia restaurant in Barcelona, a tapas place that, alas, no longer exists. They had it after an exciting meal consisting of traditional Catalan tapas such as vinegar cured anchovies, tiny fried mullets, sweet tomato with tuna belly and scallions, and anchovies “infused with lemon, dredged in !our and fried”. Ah, those are surely not for this blog! But what came next grabbed me and pulled me back to the virtual table, where I sat with them in my mind as I read this chapter.
YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE
Make this. It’s so easy. Do you have one of those simplifying tools that cores and slices a pineapple? If so, it will save you a ton of time. You do lose a little pineapple in the process, and the slices will be a little thinner than I would choose, but this is all about you. For this recipe, however, I prefer to cut the pineapple by hand to get larger chunks.
Just cube as much as you need for you and your guests, and save the rest for a midnight snack after they leave – if you can get them to go home after this dessert.
Slicing the pineapple carefully to avoid too much of the core will ensure that you only have the juicy, tender, succulent pieces placed in front of your friends. I would put them artfully on the plate, if you know what I mean.
Take a lime, and zest it so that you have some tiny, fragrant and piquant strips. Then chop those into slightly smaller lengths, and sprinkle over the tops of the pineapple pieces.
Finally, with a spoon, and your best Jackson Pollack techniques, drip and splatter and trail molasses from a great height all across and around your pineapple until the sight is so pleasing to the senses that you know that you could sell it to an art dealer dabbling in delectable diversions.
It’s juicy and sweet from the pineapple, and you would think that the molasses would push the sweetness over the edge, but it adds a biting !avor that grabs you, and coupled with the freshness of the lime is the perfect ending to any meal you might have served – even if there hasn’t been a toasted anchovy involved.
Serve to your friends. They will become friends forever.
A refreshing dessert that you will love to make and eat.
1 ripe pineapple
Zest from one Lime
2–3 tablespoons molasses
- Cut top off of pineapple and set on its base.
- Slice the spikey outer part off so that you are left with nothing but luscious pineapple
- Cut down the sides of the pineapple so that you have thick slices, and then cut those slices into chunks. Remember that the core is hard and unappetizing.
- Place attractively on plates, with an eye towards impressing the guests
- Zest your lime, chop the zest just a little and sprinkle on top of each plate of pineapple
- Take a spoon of molasses and drizzle artistically all over the pineapple and lime zest on each plate.