I can’t begin to tell you how yummy this salad was! It might just be the simplest, most heavenly salad I’ve had all month. Really, it was delicious and could very well convince anyone to consider trying pineapple in a salad. Seriously! It’s the perfect mix of sweet and spicy, but it’s not overpowering — this salad has the right balance of flavor while encompassing so many tastes and the dressing does a fabulous job of pulling together all the elements of spicy, sweet, sour and salty flavors. Plus with every enjoyable bite, you can feel good knowing it’s only bringing you pure goodness!
That’s right, not only are pineapples packed with packed with antioxidants, they also have tons of other vitamins, minerals and fiber. One cup of pineapple has a whopping 105% of your daily Vitamin C needs. Plus, fresh pineapple is the only known source of called bromelain, an enzyme that digests proteins.
That’s right, not only is pineapple valued for its sweet taste, but because of this enzyme it has also been used for centuries in Central and South America to treat indigestion, treat muscle injuries and reduce swelling and inflammation. All good reasons to find more reasons to eat fresh pineapple when it’s in stock (apparently, bromelain is destroyed in the canning or juicing process…bummer).
A friend of mine was recently in Costa Rica and showed me pictures of pineapples that were growing wild in the rain forest. I knew from passing a pineapple plantation in Hawaii that a ladder wasn’t necessary to harvest this deliciously sweet, spiky fruit, but what I never considered is how beautiful they could be in the process of turning into the fruit I enjoy this time of year. Amazing!
By the way, did you know by the way how to pick a perfectly ripe pineapple?
I always believed that if you can easily tug out a leaf from the crown of the pineapple, then it must be ripe. Apparently this is just a popular myth and my belief was merely fuelled by my continuous luck of picking fully ripe, sweet and juicy pineapples. Truth be known, there are tactile and visual clues. Perfect pineapples should firm, but not too firm – meaning they should yield to gentle pressure. And unbeknownst to me, it’s the bottom of the fruit that contains most of the sweetness, which in turn is also the ripest. So as a tip, look for pineapples with the yellow rising up it — the higher that sunny color goes, the more evenly a pineapple will be flavored.
One last clue: smell it. If it’s really fragrant and smells like pineapple, go for it, there’s a good chance it’s going to be sweet and delicious!
Thai Prawn and Pineapple Salad
For the salad:
1 small pineapple peeled, quartered, cored and sliced crosswise
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
20 cherry tomatoes, halved (200 g)
handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
4 handfuls baby salad greens (spinach, mangold and arugula) (about 100 g)
250 g tiger prawns, peeled and cooked
50 g unsalted cashews, toasted
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons palm sugar
1 teaspoon sambal oelok (chile-garlic sauce, found at Asian food markets)
1 red and green fresh chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
1 pinch of chili powder
1. Whisk together the lemon juice, fish sauce, and sugar in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add the sambal oelok, fresh chilis, garlic, cilantro and chili powder, mix together until combined.
2. In a serving bowl, combine the pineapple, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, mint, and salad greens. Toss with the dressing and serve the salad topped with the prawns and cashews. Serve and enjoy!