Recreating the perfect pineapple salsa
September 21, 2009 8:21 PM   Subscribe

How do I duplicate at home this absolutely perfect pineapple salsa I just found?

After being spoiled with my favorite recipe of all time at a local burrito place, the shack closed down and the perfect pineapple salsa went with it. This was four years ago. I've spent that time searching for something as close to that recipe as I could find, and just about a week ago I found an almost-perfect analog that is served at a regional "build-your-own-burrito" chain.

This chain seems more stable than the hole-in-the-wall the original perfect salsa came from, but nonetheless I want to try to recreate this perfection in my own home in case they do close down or I have to move, or just to save money. Now that I have a sample, I realize I'm going to have to do a lot of trial and error, but are there any techniques to this sort of thing that make it easier? What are the most typical ingredients to pineapple salsa that I should try first?
posted by joshrholloway to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
There might be an easier way. A few years ago, my girlfriend got me a great birthday gift: she got the chef at one of my favorite restaurants to teach me how to cook my fave dish on their menu. The cost to her was $100. I was a regular at the restaurant so they knew me well enough to know that I was a competitor out to steal their recipe and it was wonderful of them to participate in this gift. You might want to ask your pineapple makers what they'd charge to teach you to make it or for the recipe.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:30 PM on September 21, 2009

To be entirely honest, there's a high likelihood that they were throwing MSG into it to make it tastier. This is basically cheating but I do it at home and it works wonders. A significant number of restaurants do this and it can make a huge difference. Furthermore, restaurant food almost always has a ton more salt in it than your food at home does.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:34 PM on September 21, 2009

Well, I know nothing about the specific salsa, so here are some generalities.

Here are the ingredients that will be in most pineapple sauces:

lime juice
bell pepper
a mild pepper, ex: poblano
a spicy pepper, i'd go for habenero but I'm also EVIL

If it has a chunky, fresh, salsa fresca taste, just chop everything up and toss. If it's thinner and more saucey, puree it in a food processor. If it has that gloopy El-Paso-from-a-jar cooked consistancy, maybe use canned pineapple and Rotel.
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:41 PM on September 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Typical ingredients in pineapple salsa (and indeed most fruit salsas):
onions (red or green)
jalapeno or habanero peppers
fresh lime juice

Pineapple takes well to roasting. You can cut it into spears and grill it or sear it in a hot cast iron pan for a few minutes until you get some browning on the outside. If you go that route, I'd recommend searing a clove or two of garlic (still in the skin) along with the pineapple.
posted by TungstenChef at 8:48 PM on September 21, 2009

If it's a chain there's a good chance they're just dumping it out of a can before serving. You could possibly try using the "OMGILOVEYOURPINEAPPLESALSABUTI'MVISITINGFROMOUTOFTOWNANDHAVETOHAVEYOURDELICIOUSRECIPE!!!!!3>3>3>" approach. Chances are you'll have better luck searching the internets and finding a suitable substitute. Good luck!
posted by torquemaniac at 8:51 PM on September 21, 2009

You may be looking for pineapple pico - is the main ingredient pinapple? -does it look like this?

My 3 pepper pineapple pico uses
Finely Dice:
2 small or 1/2 lrg red onion
1 bunch of cilantro
1 Serrano pepper
1-2 banana peppers which is yellow pepper that can be sweet and hot but are often mislabeled/ mistaken with Hungarian wax see this poster for some common peppers either is fine - my goal is to provide some hot and some sweet.
1 Red Bell pepper - sweet & colorful addition
1/2 large pineapple
generous salt before serving (not mixed in but on top)

Seed the peppers (either you like or you don't). I don't seed em.
blend ingredients in food processor - use the pulse option to control consistency.

3 Jalape├▒os. provide some heat, at the cost of a tired taste - many market jalapenos are cheap and it shows.
1-2 habernero/scotch bonnet - blazing hot that slowly builds. Once again the peppers can vary in heat - but these can be exceptionally hot - exercise extreme caution with any contact with these peppers - wash cutting surfaces thoroughly and do not bring them into direct contact with your face or eyes.
1-2 tbl spoon vinegar/lemon/lime juice - the acid often balances things out - makes it taste more "Salsa" like.
3-4 tomatillos the main ingredient for green salsa. Blend these little guys with a clove of garlic and one of the peppers. Again, more like salsa.
Add a Mango.
posted by zenon at 9:34 PM on September 21, 2009

I just made salsa for the first time the other day - it was so easy and it tasted so good!

Ditto everyone above on ingredients: this particular time I used cilantro, tomato, tomatillo, garlic, lime juice, jalapeno, onion.

I will try throwing in some pineapple next time. Maybe mango in there would be good too.
posted by Mjolnir at 10:32 PM on September 21, 2009

Response by poster: The salsa itself is actual quite thin and runny, but there are some chunky bits in it for sure. There's not tons of pineapple in it, but there is enough to really get that taste. Also, it's very mild, there's almost no heat to it at all, so I doubt there are habaneros or even jalapenos.

One thing I can definitely pick out in the recipe are some long, thin red strips/tubes. I have no idea what these are.
posted by joshrholloway at 4:56 AM on September 22, 2009

Here's my recipe, from Fiesta! A Celebration of Latin Hospitality. (Note, it gets more runny the longer it sits.)
Pineapple Salsa

For best results, the salsa should be made not more than 1 hour before serving.

2 cups diced fresh pineapple
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 scotch bonnet chile, seeded and minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon brown sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a medium-size bowl and let stand for 15 to 30 minutes.
posted by Houstonian at 5:35 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

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