A couple of things you may not know about the pineapple: (1) It does not grow on a tree like a coconut, but rather springs forth from the stem of a scrawny little plant looking a bit like the star atop Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree; (2) a third of the world’s pineapples come from Hawaii, even though the fruit did not originate there; and (3) although pineapples are available year-round, aficionados say that the Hawaiian variety is at its best from spring through early summer—which makes the wait for local warm-weather fruit a little bit sweeter.
JOVIA PASTRY CHEF MONICA BELLISSIMO’S SAUTÉED PINEAPPLE WITH SAFFRON
1/2 large pineapple, cored and peeled
2 tablespoons butter
1 vanilla bean, including scraped pulp and podPinch good-quality saffron
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
(1) Dice pineapple into 1/4-inch pieces. Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add diced pineapple, vanilla bean, and saffron. Cook until pineapple is slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
(2) Add brown sugar and salt.
(3) Continue cooking pineapple until saffron infuses the mixture, about 5 more minutes. Do not overcook—you want the pineapple to hold its shape. Add lemon juice. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes as the saffron continues to color the pineapple and release more of its flavor. Serve warm with vanilla or coconut gelato, or toasted lemon pound cake.