Pickling fruit is a frontier in a world of vegetable dominance, but pineapple is one of the best of the sweet fruits for the job: it’s firm, naturally acidic, and sweet. And peanuts (or any kind of nut, really) also play nicely in the pickle bath, lending a bit of heft and chew, and plumping up all pretty-like in the jar. The chile just brings it all together, and its red flecks pop against the yellow fruit. Serve this as an appetizer or a side dish, and keep this recipe in mind when you can’t eat a whole pineapple straight away. Note that if you must, you can substitute drained canned pineapple chunks, but fresh is really much better.
HOT PICKLED PINEAPPLE AND PEANUTS
• TIME: ABOUT 1 and 1/2 HOURS • MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS •
1⁄2 cup raw peanuts
1 clove garlic
11⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons chile sauce, such as Fermented “Cock Sauce” (page 156)
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1⁄2 cup distilled white vinegar
11⁄2 cups chopped fresh pineapple, in 1-inch cubes
Place the peanuts in a small skillet over medium heat. Scorch them, shaking the pan, for about 5 minutes, until blackened in spots. Set aside to cool.
Finely mince the garlic or put it through a press. In a large wood, glass, or ceramic bowl (plastic will scratch and retain odors), combine the garlic with the salt. Use the back of a sturdy spoon to mash the garlic and salt together into a paste. It will take a couple of minutes to get it smooth. (Of course, if you have a mortar and pestle, you can use that instead.) Stir in the chile sauce, anchovy paste, and fish sauce until well combined. Stream in the vinegar and mix well.
Add the peanuts and pineapple and mix to coat completely, then spoon everything into a 1-pint jar. Don’t worry if there isn't enough brine to cover; the fruit will yield more of its juice as it sits. Cover tightly and let it sit for at least 1 hour before eating. This pickle, stored in the refrigerator,
will continue to be delicious for 2 weeks.
(* Reprinted with permission from Asian Pickles by Karen Solomon, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Jennifer Martine...)