Foods of Summer: A New Leaf (May, 1999)

  Basil Sorbet With Basil-Roasted Pineapple

The Chef

Serves four.

Pineapple-basil sorbet:
1/4 cups sugar
1/2 pineapple, rind, eyes, and core removed, finely diced
2 Granny Smith apples, skin on, diced fine
60 basil leaves
Scant 1/2 cup fresh pineapple juice
3/4 to 1 cup lemon juice

Roasted pineapple and brunoise:
1 medium pineapple, peeled and trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup plus 1/2 teaspoons sugar
32 basil leaves
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cooking Instructions
Basil sorbet: In a medium saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups water and the sugar to a boil. Add the pineapple and apples, and simmer for 2 minutes. Add half the basil leaves. Cover, remove from heat, and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Place the mixture in a blender and puree. Add the remaining basil leaves and blend until smooth. It may be necessary to puree in several batches. Strain through a fine sieve into a stainless-steel bowl set over a bowl of ice water. When it's cold, stir in the pineapple and lemon juices. Pour into an ice-cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Roasted pineapple:
Cut the pineapple in half lengthwise, remove core, and cut each half into six segments, allowing two slices per serving.

Finely dice two of the pineapple segments, and set aside in a bowl. Place the two remaining pineapple segments in the bowl of a food processor with 8 to 10 basil leaves and pulse several times until the mixture is a light-green color. Strain through a fine sieve and add the liquid to the finely diced pineapple. Allow mixture to marinate for 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Sprinkle 4 pineapple segments with 1 teaspoon of sugar and place sugar-side-down in the pan to sear. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar, and cover with about 10 basil leaves. Turn the pineapple segments when they brown slightly. Cook until the second side is brown and caramelized, and the basil has become crisp but remains green. Remove the pineapple and basil from the pan, and set aside on a platter. Repeat with remaining pineapple slices. (The pineapple can be seared ahead of time and reheated in the caramel just before serving.)

Leave 3 to 4 basil leaves in the saute pan and add the remaining sugar, leaving the heat high. When the sugar caramelizes, add the remaining oil and deglaze the pan with the lemon juice. Cook together for 2 minutes over low heat. (The oil will separate from the caramel.)

Arrange 2 pineapple segments on a plate with a few roasted basil leaves. Spoon a pool of the pineapple-basil brunoise next to the roasted fruit. Top with a scoop of basil sorbet. Drizzle the caramel sauce around the plate.