If you never roasted pineapple in the oven, you owe it to yourself to give it a try, especially now that we have organic pineapple coming into the co-op once again. It's super-simple (once you get past prepping the fruit) and ridiculously addictive. This is really more of a suggestion than a recipe, as there is no hard science here; basically you're popping fresh pineapple spears in the oven until they are tender, then glazing with a mixture of honey and ground coriander until it starts to brown and carmelize. The result is something akin to candy (if candy were warm and juicy) but much, much better.
Preheat your oven to 375-400 degrees F, depending on how hot it runs. Peel and core 1 fresh (preferably organic, of course) pineapple; this is not hard, but it's time-consuming and requires a bit of attention if you want to keep all your fingertips intact. (I've become rather fond of mine, thank you.) The method I use is essentially Betty Crocker's, as that was the cookbook I grew up with: "Twist top from pineapple. Cut pineapple into fourths. Holding pineapple securely, cut fruit from rind. Cut off pineapple core and remove "eye". A different method has you remove the outer peel before you quarter and core it; Sandy Smith shows how it's done with simple instructions and clear photos at Eat Real.
Once you've got the basic prep done, cut the pineapple quarters in half, then half again to get thin strips. (If you'd rather have larger spears, only halve the quarters once; or if you prefer, cut the spears into large chunks.) Lay them down on a lightly oiled baking tray, and put in the middle of the oven. In the meantime stir together enough honey and ground coriander to taste; you want enough to glaze the pineapple spears but not drown them. Check the pineapple after 5-8 minutes; if starting to become tender, flip spears over to the other side, cook until thoroughly tender but not falling apart. Pull tray from oven and drizzle or spoon the honey glaze over both sides of the pineapple to coat thoroughly, return to oven 3-5 minutes until honey starts to carmelize. Turn spears over if necessary and repeat.
And that's it. If you can wait until it cools a bit the honey gets stickier in contrast with the fruit inside; but I doubt it will make it that long, unless you are far more disciplined than I am. You'll be eating it right out of the oven, it's that good. It's delicious as-is, of course, but I couldn't resist gilding the lily and topping it with a dessert sauce I had made from thick coconut milk kefer combined with toasted coconut flakes and vanilla bean, grated fresh ginger, mandarin orange juice and a bit of orange zest. The tropical notes of the sauce seemed an appropriate pairing for the fruit. Another lovely idea would be scoops of vanilla bean or coconut ice cream, sprinkled again with toasted coconut.
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Text and photos copyright 2011-2013 Janice Janostak unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.