While pineapples usually invoke distant memories of summer and spark rigorous debate over their place on pizza or even the best way to cut one, there is one thing that can be agreed upon. In Southern California, they are available nearly year-round. And there’s nothing better than slicing the spiky side of a wonderfully ripe pineapple in the middle of January. Well, perhaps there are some things that might be better. Like the meet-cute of salty butter and smooth olive oil atop crispy fingerling potatoes. Fortunately, this fresh and filling meal gives you both.
This is not a typical salsa. You can scoop it up with a spoon to get all its flavorful and fresh goodness. And though the smashed potatoes are crispy enough to use as a vessel for the salsa, they are also just a wonderful side dish. Overflowing with vitamin C and protein, this colorful meal is satisfying and healthy.
Yield: 3 cups salsa
Time: 35 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups black beans, rinsed
- 1 small pineapple, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 shallots, diced
- 6 ounces heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
- Cotija cheese (garnish)
- 1 pound fingerling potatoes
- 2 tablespoons cold butter (stick)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher or flaky salt
- In a medium pot with fingerling potatoes, fill with water and salt and bring to a boil. Cook fingerling potatoes for 15 minutes, or until fork-tender.
- Meanwhile, peel and prepare the pineapple. Dice pineapple, red bell pepper and shallots into small and even pieces. Quarter cherry tomatoes.
- Combine black beans, pineapple, bell pepper, shallots, tomatoes and cilantro in a bowl. Dress with lime juice and a pinch of salt. Stir and let set.
- Drain potatoes and cover them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Let them cool while the oven preheats to 425 F.
- Spread potatoes onto a sheet pan. With a heavy flat-bottomed cup or bowl, gently smash each potato to about 1/2 inch thickness.
- Drizzle with olive oil. Dice butter into small cubes. Distribute cubes atop each smashed potato.
- Bake for 20-23 minutes, flipping halfway through. Sprinkle them with salt as soon as they come out of the oven.
- Serve the salsa with the hot, crispy potatoes. Garnish with Cotija.
Between the fresh sweetness of the pineapple and the addictive crunch of the potatoes, I find myself looking forward to this meal all day. Sometimes I’ll add an avocado to the mix or some fresh grilled corn. Take out the Cotija and it’s a plant-based delight. Dip the smashed potatoes into some guacamole? Say no more. This dish is a well-balanced meal that can always be revamped or modified to fit your cravings.
A version of this article appeared on p. 10 of the April 13, 2023 version of the Daily Nexus.
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