Sarah C writes: Every year my parents vacation in Hawaii and then send me a case of pineapples. They’re so damn tasty, but I need some new ways to use them up. I always want to make some sort of stirfry – maybe something on the sweet side. Suggestions??
Tony’s take: I think you’re on the right path using the pineapple in a stir-fry (that’s one of the few places that you can use pineapple in savory cooking). My suggestion would be to use the pineapple in an old-school Chinese sweet and sour sauce. The fresh pineapple will give the sauce a touch of refinement and make it almost fancy for a weeknight meal. Pair the sauce with stir-fried chunks of pork or chicken and then serve with some steamed rice and steamed broccoli or stir-fried asparagus.
How to do it: Prepare the pork or chicken: For 4 servings, cut about 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork (tenderloin would be perfect) or chicken (boneless, skinless breasts) into 1-inch pieces and toss with a light sprinkling of kosher salt (about 1/2 teaspoon), cornstarch (about 1 teaspoon), soy sauce (1 teaspoon), and canola or peanut oil (1 tablespoon).
Make the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together equal parts of rice vinegar and honey (about 1/4 cup each) with 1 tablespoon of ketchup and soy sauce, a squirt of some Thai chile paste if you’re in the mood, and some thinly sliced scallion (if you have) and 1 cup or so of the diced fresh pineapple.
Stir-fry the pork or chicken: Heat a splash of canola or peanut oil in a large wok or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering hot, about 1 minute. Add the pork or chicken and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until it loses most of its raw coloring on the outside, about 2 minutes. Add the sauce and cook, tossing, until the sauce heats through and the pork or chicken becomes firm to the touch (cut open a larger piece to check it’s cooked through), 2 to 3 minutes.
Serve the sweet and sour pork (or chicken) with some steamed rice (I’d go with Jasmine) and something green (like broccoli).