Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way to prevent the traditionalists from becoming active with the hate comments. Yes, this not a traditional Trinbago chow recipe, however your taste-buds will be gratified from the different levels of flavor both the grilling and the apple-wood smoke adds to this classic Caribbean salad. Chow is cross between a salad and pickle, usually made using a tart fruit (like green mangoes | mango chow) and is popular in the Southern Caribbean.
1 ripe pineapple
1/2 medium red onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
2 tablespoon shado beni (or cilantro)
1/2 lime (or lemon)
Pinch fresh black pepper
Apple wood chips for that smokiness goodness.
To learn how to peel and trim a fresh pineapple, watch this video: How to peel, trim and core a pineapple.
Before we get to the recipe, I’d like to say thanks to Chef Marc from http://www.menufortheweek.com for sharing his personal touch in making pineapple chow. In the coming months we’ll have some exciting news to share with you, as Marc and I explore a new dimension to Caribbean cooking.
In this recipe we’re using a propane grill, but you can use a charcoal bbq or an indoor grill if you like. If you don’t have access to a grill, you can place the pineapple slices on a lined baking sheet and broil for a couple minutes on each side. You won’t get the rich flavor of the apple wood smoke, but you will enjoy the caramelized flavor of the cooked pineapple.
Create a pouch with a piece of sturdy tin foil with the applewood chips, wrap and poke some holes with a fork. Place it on the side of the grill area (or directly on the hot coals or flame) and cover the lid. Allow the smoke to develop before you begin grilling. There’s no need to soak the wood chips in water as we’ve done in the past as we want immediate smoke.
Peel and slice the pineapple into 1/2 inch slices. Marc didn’t core the pineapple and to be quite honest.. I much liked the texture of the core when grilled.
With your grill on a medium heat (you can oil the grates so the pineapple pieces don’t stick), place the pineapple slices over a medium heat and cover the grill immediately (you don’t want to loose that lovey smoke you created). Grill for 2 minutes, then flip to the other side and grill for another 2 minutes. The goal is to NOT over-cook the pineapple pieces, but to get grill marks, warm for the natural sweetness to come through and to infuse it with that smoke. Also grill the scotch bonnet pepper for a minute or two for a totally different flavor than using raw scotch bonnet.
Slice the onions very thin, crush or dice the garlic (very small) and chop the shado beni (chadon beni or culantro). If you cannot get shado beni double up on cilantro. Remove the roasted scotch bonnet off the grill, deseed and chop finely. The grilled pineapple should be cut into bite sized pieces (like little pizza slices).
It’s now time to assemble everything. Place everything (except the lime juice) into a large bowl and give it a good mix, now top with the lime (or lemon) juice and give it a final spin – taste for salt and adjust. Try to use fresh ground black pepper!
You can serve this up immediately, but Marc recommends that you have it chill in the fridge for about an hour or so to allow the flavors to develop and marry together. I quite agree as I had it the next day with by eggs at breakfast and it was stunning!
I do hope you give this recipe a try and for you traditionalists, be prepared for a whole new take on the beloved Trini chow.
Again..special thanks to Chef Marc for his wicked Applewood Smoked Pineapple Chow recipe.