Grilled Carrot, Pineapple & Sausage w/ Chimichurri
After a long Canadian winter, I can’t wait for the very first sign of warm weather so that I can throw the tarp off the ol’ grill and fire up some charcoals. Since getting my Weber grill a few years ago, I’ve made it an annual tradition to cook something entirely new for the first BBQ of the year. This year was no different. I turned to Latin America for some inspiration, specifically Argentina. Like nearly everyone who has watched Chef’s Table on Netflix, I have been deeply influenced by the almost mythological figure of Francis Mallmann. I can’t remember the last time I felt so inspired to cook, be it outdoors or not. I must have watched the episode with Mallmann nearly a dozen times at this point. Each time I notice something different in his culinary philosophy. The way he handles the food, his mastery over the flames, how he is not afraid to cook things whole and in their entirety, his love of char, or the way he contemplates the poetry of food and cooking.
Whether he knows it or not, Mallmann is Paleo-ish. He’s fond of sweet potatoes, varieties of pumpkins and squash, lots of vegetables, and different pasture-raised meats. Certainly the triple-magnum bottles of Catena Zapata Malbec are a bit indulgent! However, the ingredients and techniques he uses are perfectly suited to a Paleo/Whole 30 lifestyle. The philosophy, as I understand it, is to use natural ingredients, not to fuss around with them and to cook them rustically with fire. If I ever had the opportunity to cook for legend himself, this is the dinner party I would prepare.
Prior to this, I never tried grilling carrots and without watching Mallmann I probably never would have. Since I wanted to stick with the Argentinian-inspired feast, Chimichurri was the first thing that came to mind as a sauce. Sweet, charred carrots with herbaceous, garlicky and spicy chimichurri seemed like an excellent idea. Happily, I was not disappointed with the pairing. It’s a match made in culinary heaven! Note that this is one variety of chimichurri and was made with what I had on hand. There are an assortment of chimichurris out there and I encourage you to experiment with them. For example, I know people who hate cilantro. I can’t for the life of me understand why and frankly I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like cilantro! But that’s their prerogative. Feel free to only use parsley, to add in some fresh oregano for a more authentic Argentinian flavour, or even incorporate some fresh mint for something more refreshing. The rest, however, should stay the same. Red wine vinegar, evoo, lemon juice and chilis are the standard.
Grilled pineapple is not entirely new to me. I’ve had it on burgers and alongside roast pork in Hawaii. But never have I grilled it whole. I have always sliced it first. When you cook it whole, you end up with a caramelized exterior and juicy yet slightly acidic interior. It’s absolutely delicious and has a nice contrast in texture and flavours that you don’t get when slicing first. In fact, the memory is literally making my mouth water as I write about it!
The sausages are a great accompaniment here. I was in luck because my fiancés father had just made a large batch of homemade pork/beef ones, so I used those. However, feel free to use any Paleo/Whole 30 compliant ones you like. Just be sure to watch out for unhealthy fillers like wheat starch and sugar. Probably best to stick to ones prepared by butchers in-house since they’re also typically made with little to no preservatives.
If sausages aren’t your thing, a great pork chop, or my recipe for Argentinian Chimichurri flank steak goes really well with all of the flavours here. I leave the choice of meat up to you!
Give it a go and let me know what you think in the comments below!
1 cup flat-leaf parsley
1 cup cilantro
1 red chili pepper – can substitute 1-2tsp dried chili flakes (optional)
4 cloves garlic
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2tbsp lemon juice
¾ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Grainy mustard for serving – or any Whole 30 compliant variety
1 medium pineapple – outer skin removed but top left intact
4-6 Whole 30 compliant sausages – I’m using homemade ones made by my fiancés father but your favorite variety will do here.
3-4 large carrots – rinsed well but not peeled
Combine parsley, cilantro, chili pepper, garlic, red wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and pepper and EVOO into a food processor or blender and pulse until combined. Alternatively, chop everything very finely by hand and mix with a large spoon in a bowl. Taste for seasoning, adjusting salt and pepper levels to taste. Transfer to serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature.
Prep the grill:
- Preheat a large chimney starter with charcoal. I like to use briquettes but feel free to use lump or natural wood or a combination of the two. Alternatively, fire up a gas grill.
- In the meantime, gently massage a few glugs of EVOO over the carrots, sausages and pineapple. Season the carrots with a pinch of salt and fresh-cracked pepper. No need to season the pineapple or sausages.
- When a white ash has formed around the coals, gently arrange them onto one side of the grill to create a hot spot and cool spot. Place the pineapple, sausages and carrots directly over the hot side of the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes to develop a nice char. Flip and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
- When the meat and vegetables have developed a good char, move them to the cool side of the grill and cover. Cook covered for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the sausages have cooked through.
- At this point I like to remove the sausages from the grill and tent them under some tinfoil to keep them hot and allow them to rest. Then I place the carrots and pineapple back over the hot side of the grill and continue to char any of the sides that I missed earlier. The pineapple should be juicy and carrots should have softened by now but still be quite firm in the center. Remove from grill when you feel they’ve had enough love from the flames.
To serve: slice the sausages on a bias and the pineapple into large discs, keeping the top on for presentation. Arrange the sausages and pineapple onto a large platter and spoon some Whole30 compliant mustard overtop half of the sausages (I love pickled whole grain varieties). I serve extra mustard on the side for those who prefer to have the sausages on their own.
In large pieces, slice the carrots on a bias and arrange them into a high pile in a separate platter. Spoon the chimichurri overtop.
Serve everything with some sparkling water with lemon slices for a delicious and refreshing summer dinner party! For best results, dine al-fresco!