Happy Mother’s Day!! This is a recipe for my mother and also for anyone else who reads this blog in Hawaii (where I grew up). I have made this fabulous salad recipe, from Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America by way of Food 52, many times in the last few weeks. It is really good, even with the sad, sorry pineapples available in NYC. If I think it is delicious with the ingredients that I can get here, I can only imagine how good it would be with a proper Maui pineapple, free avocados from your neighbors tree and the most gorgeous watercress in the world grown by Maui farmers. My mother is planting watercress in her garden this year, so maybe she will make this salad with watercress plucked from her own yard!
I have nothing creative to add to this perfect salad. I just wanted to share it with friends and family who can get better pineapple than I can. If I was making it with a Maui pineapple I would skip the sugar, since Maui pineapples are already wonderfully sweet. Also, in my fantasy I am grilling my Maui pineapple instead of doing it in my broiler. Not that it is difficult to do it in the broiler, mind you. Grilling is just more fun. I skip the raw red onion myself , which is probably some sort of sign that my palate is not sophisticated, but what can I say other than…I don’t like raw onion. (Note added June 29th- I’ve started adding pickled red onion to this salad. I’ll add instructions below). I added more lime juice, because I like limes. I’ve also made it with arugula instead of watercress. This recipe makes me want to buy a copy of Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America for myself the next time I go on a cookbook purchasing spree.
I do have a wonderful menu to recommend! Try this salad as a side dish to Pork chops in Boozy Jam Sauce made with Guava jam and rum. Oh! OR serve it with shrimp sautéed in tons of garlic and butter! For a vegetarian meal serve this salad with Brazilian Black Bean Soup. Make tiny, sloppy Guava Cream Cheese Tarts for dessert. Hmmmm, maybe it’s time for me to throw a dinner party!
- 2 bunches watercress, cleaned and trimmed of the thick stems (arugula is good too)
- 1 pineapple peeled, cored and thickly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon sugar (you could skip this with a Maui pineapple)
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice or cider vinegar (I actually used the juice of 1 small lime)
- 1/8 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large or 2 small perfectly ripe avocados, cubed or sliced
- 1 small red onion slivered (I skip this or I pickle the onion by soaking the slivers in 1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar, 1/4 cup water, 1 Tablespoon salt and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons sugar for at least one hour).
- Place the pineapple slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle them with sugar (if needed) and broil until they caramelize a bit. In my broiler, this takes 10 minutes on the first side and five minutes on the second. Let the pineapple cool a bit and cut it into chunks.
- Combine the garlic, olive oil, lime juice, cumin, salt and pepper and use the mixture to dress the watercress.
- Top the greens with the grilled pineapple, avocado and red onion (if you wish). Serve immediately.