Pineapple skin can add flavor to grilling

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As I stood at the cutting board, slicing slabs of thick skin off a fresh pineapple, a thought occurred to me - the strips of skin were an awful lot like the cedar planks some people use to add flavor to food on the grill. Perhaps they could be used the same way.

Cedar plank grilling is pretty basic. You soak a cedar wood plank (be certain it is meant for cooking and has not been treated with anything) in water for a bit, then set your food (salmon and chicken are nice) on it. Place the whole thing on the grill and let it cook. The plank gets charred and infuses the food with an earthy, savory, smoky flavor.

I wondered what would happen if I used pineapple skin (or what I like to think of as pineapple bark). And I wouldn’t even need to soak it because the skin contains its own juices.

I tried it both on the grill and in the oven and it worked great. The pineapple infused the meat with a delicate sweetness, and kept it moist and juicy. The enzymes in the pineapple also helped tenderize the meat (I sandwiched chicken breast cutlets between two strips of pineapple bark and let them “marinate” for a bit).

The same technique also worked on fish. I tried it with hake with delicious results, though any firm white fish would be appropriate. Just don’t prepare the fish or meat with the pineapple skin too far ahead of time, as the acidity of the juice will make the flesh mushy.

To use the rest of the pineapple, I decided to accompany the chicken with grilled pineapple and guacamole.

PINEAPPLE BARK CHICKEN WITH GRILLED PINEAPPLE GUACAMOLE

Start to finish: 2 hours 45 minutes (45 minutes active)

Servings: 3

1 large whole pineapple

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salt and ground black pepper

Ground cumin

Cayenne pepper

½ small red onion, diced

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