It happened again.
At the supermarket the other day, there were lovely, aromatic pineapples on display. Good price, too. I selected carefully, sniffing the bottoms as I’d been instructed by somebody or other (why do I trust these people?) until I found one that smelled distinctly pineappley. Sugary. Delighted, I brought it home and refrigerated it until this afternoon, when I had a hankering for something sweet but not diet-dangerous.
Thwack! Off comes its thorny head. Thwack! The armored bottom. A quick pair of cuts down the middle, and I’ve got four prickly quarters, ready for their final trim. Zzzh zzzh zzzh, the hide’s gone. One more fast set of knife maneuvers, and my pineapple is cored and sliced. I put a small pile on a plate, grab a fork, and wander off to read the paper.
I am happy. For about one minute. The first piece is always delicious—I don’t care how underripe a pineapple is, there’s always something satisfying about the first golden, juicy bite. The second, though, is too often a mouth-puckering doozy. In an instant, that little area at the back left of my tongue started to tingle, even burn. This pineapple, the one I’d so lovingly, so excitedly prepared, was crap. As S might say, it was NG: no good. I’d made a bad pineapple selection, again. Dejected, I trudged back into the kitchen, prepared to pitch the whole thing into the trash.
But wait. Hadn’t I only recently discovered the wonders of caramelized fruit? How could I even consider wasting all this potential lusciousness in a fit of pique? Two seconds later the oven was preheating, the cookie sheet was lined with foil, and the pineapple was on its way to a vast improvement. Twenty minutes after that I was feasting on gloriously browned, monumentally sweeter slices of warm fruit topped with a chiffonade of mint. Yes, I tossed it with a little sugar just in case, but it was less than a tablespoon for the whole pineapple. As far as I’m concerned, that’s not even enough to count.
Neutral-flavored cooking spray
1 good-sized pineapple, trimmed, cored, and sliced
1 scant T. sugar
10 mint leaves, slivered
Heat the oven to 425. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
Put the pineapple slices into a bowl and toss with the sugar. Spread in a single layer on the cookie sheet and roast for fifteen minutes. Remove from the oven, and turn the heat up to Broil. Turn the pineapple slices over, and put the pan into the broiler for 2-4 minutes, watching carefully, until they’re browned and glistening.
Remove from the heat and serve topped with mint slivers.