My dad is still the grillmaster in my mind, even though I haven’t lived with my parents for nearly a decade and I have a lot of friends who are very good at grilling. The grill was just always on in the summer when I was a kid, and the magical foods that came from it made a permanent impression on me.
So when I went to visit my parents last week, I couldn’t believe he would let ME come up with a recipe, while he would still do most of the work. I chose as my main ingredients the half-pineapple chilling in the fridge and my dad’s (SUPER EXCITING AND COLORFUL AND I WANT MY OWN) pepper garden out back. That’s right. The man has a fenced-off garden of pepper pots on risers with his own homemade sprinkler system to water it. The variety of spice and color in that pepper jungle is making my mouth water. Anyway, this recipe kind of came up with itself. The resulting grilltime was fun and relaxing at the same time. And, not surprisingly, the results were definitely worth repeating:
1.5lb salmon filet (in 1 or 2 pieces, makes 4 servings)
1 tbsp lemon juice
Teriyaki sauce or marinade
2 tsp Ancho chili powder
peppers (see below)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 pineapple rings, about .5″ thick
Step 1: Skin the salmon if you want to (not required, more of a personal preference) and sprinkle with lemon juice. Set aside for five to ten minutes. Also, heat up your grill.
Step 2: Chop your peppers into small pieces. I wear gloves for this, because I like spicy food. As in, really spicy. If you have habanero peppers, those would probably work fine. Cow horn peppers or serranos would fall into the pretty darn spicy range, and if you’re looking for something not quite so heated, red (fully ripened) jalapenos or even poblanos would probably be fine. All of these peppers have their own flavor profiles, so use your favorite if you want a familiar flavor, or take one of my suggestions if you want to try something new. I went for something spicy and red because it’s pretty, and that’s the most important aspect of cooking, right? RIGHT?
Step 3: Sorry. Spicy foods are distracting. Put your peppers (about 3 tablespoons after you dice them up) aside, and chop the pineapple rings into about 1/2″ chunks. Now spread the pineapple chunks on a piece of sturdy tinfoil (or just fold the flimsier stuff in half) with the edges folded up so the juices don’t run away! Sprinkle the pepper pieces on top of the pineapple, drizzle with olive oil, then add a couple dashes of curry powder and salt.
Step 4: Dab the lemon juice off the fish and put it on its own piece of sturdy foil. Brush (or drizzle, who cares?) with teriyaki sauce, making sure you cover the whole filet, and then cover with ancho chili powder—don’t overdo it, just make sure the fish is lightly, but completely, covered on both sides.
Step 5: Grilltime! Grill the fish (with the lid on) for about five minutes on side one over medium heat and the pineapple combo over low heat simultaneously. Flip your fish and pour your fruity spicy mixture on top, and cook until it reaches your preferred temperature (for salmon, I usually go medium to medium-well on the grill).
Now eat it! Savor it! Thank me later! I suspect this recipe would also work with a mahi-mahi type fish (or some other delicious sea monster full of heavy metals that the doctors keep telling us to avoid). But I’ll never know unless you tell me!