I love to entertain and I love to feed people. And luckily that works out to be a pretty good combo! From my college days of BBQing on the back deck to ridiculous theme parties from my days in SF (can I get a Greek themed game night anyone?), to today and the wonderful world of kids’ birthday parties & respectable Thanksgiving dinners, I’ve picked up a few tips to prevent me from spending all day in the kitchen while still coming up with something that’s clever and tasty. And I’m happy to say, none of those tips came from Sandra Lee! (Sorry Sandy.)
This quickie appetizer / salad (or whatever you want to call it) is the perfect example of that. I’m all about keeping things simple. And truthfully, that’s one of the great side benefits of eating whole foods, there usually aren’t a ton of ingredients. Just good quality food that, prepared properly, taste amazing.
My inspiration for this “caprese” combo came from this month’s Bon Appetite magazine. They had a creative spread that put a twist on what we traditionally know as a Caprese salad. Using a variety of fresh fruit, cheese and select herbs, the combinations looked outstanding. And it got me thinking about what we had in our fridge and what I could come up with on my own.
What I came up with is a pineapple, queso fresco and mint combination that came out lovely! I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off a summer BBQ. The sweet tanginess of the pineapple paired with the salty brininess of the quesco fresco married together just right. The mint was the perfect compliment adding just the bit of summer it needed. Make sure to go easy on the mint though as fresh mint has a way of overpowering a dish. You just want a hint, not a mint bomb. I also chose to use white pepper because of it’s mildness, I’m afraid black pepper would be too strong for these ingredients.
Presentation, presentation, presentation! Whether it’s a pretty picture on Pinterest, or a dish I order at Wayfare Tavern, I’m always filing things away in my head and getting inspiration for my dishes. Who best to learn from then the pros? Bon Appetite plated their capreses (ok, seriously, WHAT is the plural of “caprese”? Anyone?) beautifully, showcasing the simplicity of the fresh ingredients, so I wanted to emulate what they did. Had I chopped up all of the ingredients and simply threw them into a bowl, it wouldn’t have had the same effect. There really aren’t a lot of ingredients to this, so arranging them in an interesting way added a punch and your guests will take note.
1 Tbsp. queso fresco crumbled
3 mint leaves finely chopped
1 drizzle olive oil
white pepper & sea salt to taste
Strip and clean the pineapple and slice into thin discs and arrange discs onto plate. Crumble the quesco fresco on top along with the mint. Remember, just a tad of mint! Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Another easy recipe for you to feel good about eating!