These skewers, called abacaxi picante com Manchego no palito in Brazil, makes for a very simple appetizer with an undeniable elegance, perfect for a last-minute get-together. The perfect balance of the soft, sweet pineapple and the firm, nutty, salty Manchego — Spain’s most famous sheep’s milk cheese — is very refreshing.
In Brazil, I make this dish with Gouda, but once I tried it with Manchego, I never looked back. Look for an aged cheese, which will have a deep, buttery feel, like Roncal or Queso Zamorano from Spain, or Terrincho Velho from Portugal.
For a nice presentation, cut the fruit and the cheese into perfect squares of the same size. Save the trimmings for another recipe, or just snack on them like I do.
Try to find some nice-looking skewers because this presentation relies on the sum of its very few parts. I like the bamboo ones sold in Asian specialty stores.
Adapted from "The Brazilian Kitchen" by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz.
- ½ pound fresh pineapple, peeled and cut into 20 ½-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 ounces Manchego, at room temperature, cut into 20 ½-inch cubes (same size as the pineapple)
- 20 small bamboo skewers
Place the sugar in a small skillet and add the water. Cook over high heat until it turns into a light amber color, about 2-3 minutes (since this is a very small quantity it can be easily overcooked, so watch carefully).
Add the butter and swirl the pan around. Everything will splash and bubble, so be careful. When the butter is well blended with the caramelized sugar, turn the heat to low and add the cinnamon and chipotle. Cook the caramel, whisking constantly, until it gets a little thicker, about 2 minutes.
Add the pineapple squares and swirl the pan around, allowing the pineapple to caramelize in the sauce and become lightly golden brown, but don’t let it get too mushy, 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the pineapple and sauce onto a flat plate. While the fruit is still hot, place a piece of pineapple on the skewer, then a piece of Manchego. Place the skewers on a serving plate and serve immediately, while the pineapple is still warm.