Pineapple Salsa Fresca

 Nine years ago today, I moved to New York. I was 22 years old, fresh out of college, and convinced that as soon as I got to my first Manhattan apartment, my life would really begin. I was starting film school, and my biggest dream was to be the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director. Clearly, that did not happen (shout out to Kathryn Bigelow!), but a lot of other things did. 

I’m pretty sure New York City is the only place in the world where people celebrate the anniversary of their moving date. It’s hard to live anywhere, but New York is a special case. The crowds, the noise, the cost of living, the constant need to compete professionally–nothing is easy here. In the last nine years, I have:

  • lived in eight apartments.
  • moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Then back to Manhattan. Then back to Brooklyn.
  • had twelve jobs in five different fields.
  • realized that I enjoy cooking far more than I ever enjoyed film production.
  • learned to bake in the tiniest kitchen ever.
  • abandoned my filmmaking dreams in the name of butter and sugar.
  • met some of the most incredible people on earth.
  • fallen in love. And fallen out of love.
  • had really high highs and horrifically low lows.
  • survived. 

 The life I have is not what I envisioned nine years ago (or anything close to it), but today, I am living the life I want. I live in a beautiful apartment in a safe neighborhood with good people. I work as a personal chef for a very nice family. I have an unbelievable support system, without whom I’m not sure I would have accomplished anything. I have a lot of goodness, generosity, spontaneity, and love in my life. Every once in a while, I dream of moving somewhere else–Austin, Chicago, Maine–but then I realize that moving would mean leaving everything I’ve accomplished in New York, all the people I’ve met, and all of the opportunities I might have here in the future. And so, I stay. New York, I’m not done with you yet.

But as they say, “You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the girl.” As much as I couldn’t wait to move out of Fort Worth nine years ago, growing up in Texas has molded my identity in ways I will never be able to shake. My whole family lives there (until E3 moves to Boston next week!), as do most of my closest friends, so as much as I love New York, a lot of my heart is in the Lone Star State. 

Another thing I’ll never be able to shake? My deep, abiding love of Tex-Mex. It’s one thing New York can’t ever seem to do right–I get my fix by making homemade versions of my favorite dishes. My recipe index already has my red and green salsas and my favorite guacamole, in addition to a fantastic posole and an easy southwestern chicken soup. I have big plans to put a couple of enchilada recipes on here when the weather cools down a little, but it’s hot today, so I’m keeping it simple with this Pineapple Salsa Fresca. 

   This recipe is a sweeter, tangier twist on traditional pico de gallo. Fresh pineapple is used instead of tomatoes! Combined with red onion, a serrano pepper, a little garlic, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt, it’s a match made in heaven! Everything comes together on the cutting board in about ten minutes–no need for a food processor. Let it sit at room temperature for an hour to let the flavors meld a bit, and then dig in with your favorite tortilla chips!

Pineapple Salsa Fresca is a magical combination of flavors: sweet, tangy, spicy, and a little salty. The chunky, slightly crunchy texture is perfect with crispy tortilla chips! This salsa would also be great with grilled fish or shrimp. Oooh! Or pork tacos!

Yes. Even after nine years in New York, I’m definitely still Texan at heart. 

 Pineapple Salsa Fresca
makes about 3 cups

3 cups fresh pineapple (about 1 pound), 1/2-inch dice
1/2 small red onion, 1/4-inch dice
1/2-1 serrano pepper,* minced, seeded (optional)
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
juice of one lime
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
tortilla chips, for serving

Combine pineapple, onion, serrano, garlic, cilantro, lime, and salt in a medium-large mixing bowl. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to toss all ingredients together. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let salsa sit at room temperature for one hour so the flavors can meld. Serve with tortilla chips.

Leftover salsa will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Note:

Jalapeño may be used instead of serrano pepper. You may want two jalapeños, depending on your spice preferences.