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Winning Recipe: Pink Pineapple Challenge

By Dennis Linden

Out of the many entries submitted by Melissa’s professional chef and mixologist customers, three treatments of Del Monte’s new Pinkglow® pineapple were selected as the Best of the Best. Chef Craig Brady, Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar in Orange, CA., created this winning recipe that also provides the perfect stay-at-home, restaurant quality Valentine’s dinner for two during these hunkering-in pandemic times. While Chef Craig’s finished dish looks Michelin-worthy and will definitely impress that significant other with your culinary prowess, the recipe has three easy-to-prep components that combine to make the final presentation and there’s no cooking involved!

First a little bit about the star of Chef Craig’s dish, the Pinkglow® Pineapple. This beautiful proprietary fruit has taken Del Monte 16 years to develop on the company’s experimental farm in Costa Rica, the only place on the planet this delectable fruit can be found. Essentially, pineapples contain pink pigment (lycopene) and yellow pigment (beta carotene). The natural ripening process turns the pink to yellow; however, by tweaking those natural ripening enzymes the pinkness of the fruit is retained. I was surprised by the variety’s sweetness compared to the yellow pineapple, which has a slightly tart aftertaste. By contrast, the Pinkglow® has a full-flavored, sugary sweetness to it as well as what I can only describe as a “candied” aroma that envelopes the air as soon as the fruit is cut!

That sweetness was tamed deliciously in the chef’s Pink Pineapple Ponzu by combining the Pinkglow® juice with a collection of complementary but distinct flavors. Craig steeps a mixture of delicate white soy sauce, the mild acidity of mirin, the sharpness of fresh ginger, plus a touch of lime and a small sheet of seaweed with the juice make the foundational flavor base that permeates every bite. Plus, the occasional flavor treat of smoky heat of pickled red Fresno pepper and pickled pearl onion add yet another layer to the supporting cast to his the ceviche scallops. And for a special occasion Valentine presentation, the eye appeal of this beautiful dish under candlelight is quite impressive!

Executive Chef, Craig Brady
As Executive Chef, Craig Brady lends years of experience and much passion to
create dishes that push the boundaries of what is commonly known as “pub food” at Orange County’s award-winning restaurant, Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar in Old Towne Orange. Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar has gained much attention for serving high quality, freshly prepared food in a high energy environment, maintaining purveyors of local or organic produce, sustainable seafood, and humanely raised meat and poultry as often as possible. Haven also boasts an award-winning selection of beer, wine, spirits, and cocktails to enjoy alongside the food. A constant effort is put into making available beers that are reserved or highly allocated for only the most serious beer-centric restaurants and pubs. Annual releases, brewery collaborations, and just plain hard to find beers find their way into the cold storage space at Haven.

This is Chef Craig’s second “lap” at Haven Craft. After successful culinary positions in Laguna Beach, Santa Monica and Boston he first joined the Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar team in 2012 as Chef de Cuisine. Over the next 4 years, Chef Brady defined his style and created something truly unique and special in the form of very intricate and creative beer-paired dinners with local breweries. In 2016 Chef Brady took a two-year subapical from Haven Craft to help open and oversee the start-up of another now well-known local eatery in Southern California. However, his heart was left at Haven and so in 2018 Chef Brady returned to Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar as Executive Chef to add a new sentence to the acclaimed restaurant’s already rich story.

A few preparation tips on preparing this recipe. There are two easy methods to juice pineapple. Remove the outer skin, cut fruit into chunks, puree in a blender, transfer contents to a large strainer placed over a bowl and refrigerate overnight while juice collects in the bowl. I have a juicer, so just ran spears of pineapple through it; one Pinkglow® produced approximately one cup of juice. To do this recipe right, the pickling of both garnishes need to sit overnight. So on day-one prep the pearl onions [boil 2 minutes before peeling] and the Fresno chile. I also made the Ponzu ahead, let the liquid steep at room temp./refrigerated until needed / then brought it back to room temperature before plating. Prepare the scallops about an hour before serving, then hold chilled until ready to use. Don’t forget to light the candles!

Pickled Onion & Fresno Chile
Yield: 2 Servings

Ingredients for Pickled Onion & Fresno Chile

Ingredients Pickled Onion & Chile:

4 Red Pearl Onion, peeled & quartered
1 Fresno Pepper, small dice
1 cup Rice vinegar, divided
1½ TBS salt, divided

Pink Pineapple Ponzu

1 cup Pink Pineapple, juice
½ cup White soy
2 TBS fresh lime, juice
2 TBS mirin
1 3x3 pc Kombu (dried seaweed)
1 TBS Fresh ginger, fine chop

Ceviche Fresh Scallops

7 Fresh Scallops, sliced ¼ inch thick [7 slices per serving]
1 TBS fresh Lime, juice
1 TBS fresh Lemon, juice
1 TBS Water

Garnish

Small Cilantro & Mint leaves

Preparation

Pickled Onion & Fresno Chile

Pickled Onion & Fresno Chile: combine 1 cup rice vinegar with 1½ TBS salt. In separate containers cover pearl onions and chile with the liquid and refrigerate overnight.

Pink Pineapple Ponzu

Pink Pineapple Ponzu: Combine Pink Pineapple juice, white soy sauce, lime juice, mirin, Kombu and ginger. Let mixture steep for one-hour at room temperature, then strain. Refrigerate until use.

Scallops

Scallops: Slice Scallops about ¼ inch thick. Mix lime juice, lemon juice and water, then place the scallop slices in the liquid for about 4-5 minutes to firm them up. Drain and discard the liquid, refrigerate scallops until ready to use.

Plating: Place scallops in the bowl then liquid then garnishes.
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