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Avocado, Pineapple and Arugula Salad with Fresh Chili and Lime
This bright, beautifully balanced salad of creamy avocado, fruity pineapple and peppery greens is our version of Cuban ensalada de aguacate, berro y piña, a dish we first learned about from Cuba-born Maricel Presilla, chef, food historian and author of the encyclopedic cookbook “Gran Cocina Latina.” In our recipe, we use both lime zest and juice for citrusy notes, plus white vinegar for an extra shot of acidity. Steeping the sliced red onion and grated garlic in the vinegar for a few minutes mellows their bite so their flavors don’t dominate. For efficiency, you can use that time to prep other ingredients. And for ease, purchase an already peeled and cored pineapple from the refrigerator case in the produce section of the supermarket, but be sure to drain the pineapple of any juice and pat it dry, as extra moisture will dilute the flavors and turn the salad soggy. We think a little chili heat is a nice counterpoint to the sweet-sour pineapple and rich avocado, but if you wish to minimize the spiciness, seed the chili before slicing it. This salad is an excellent accompaniment to Cuban-style meatloaf or grilled or roasted meats, poultry or seafood of just about any kind.
small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
medium garlic clove, finely grated