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Monday
Aug062012

Cilantro Chicken with Pickled Tomato and Avocado Salsa

*Post by Angela.

One of the many reasons I could never cook in a restaurant environment? Lack of plate aesthetic. Most of the time, our home meals look so messy, it's hard to believe they taste good. But they usually do. Like this recipe, which we ate as a main along with our quinoa fritters a few weeks ago. It looks like a wreck on a plate, but I love the bright flavors. And while it's got a lot of ingredients, it's actually pretty easy to throw together.

 

 

Ingredients for the salsa:
  • 1 pound medium beefsteak-type tomatoes, quartered and seeded
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 firm-ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

After I had prepped the tomatoes, I combined them with the chiles and green onions in a large bowl.

 

 

I brought the vinegar to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, bring vinegar to a boil, added the brown sugar and salt and cooked, stirring, until dissolved, about 1 minute, then I turned the heat off and let it sit.

In another saucepan, I heated the oil over medium-high heat, then added the ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, pepper, cumin, cayenne, and turmeric  and cooked, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. I turned off the heat, stirred in the vinegar mixture, and poured it over the tomatoes.

 

 

Once I had let the tomatoes cool down a little, I covered them and chilled them in the fridge for about 3 hours (needs at least 1 hour of chill time).  About an hour before dinner, I cut up the avocados and threw them in, tossing well, and left the completed salsa out to come to room temp.

 

 

Ingredients for the chicken:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded so that they are the same thickness 

Around that same time I added the avocados to the salsa, I combined ¼ cup of the olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper, whisked it together and then poured it over the chicken, making sure the meat was evenly coated. I let the chicken stand at room temp, covered, for about 40 minutes.

 

 

Once I was ready to cook, I shook the excess marinade off the chicken and cooked it up in a pan over medium heat until cooked through (about 15 minutes). I served the chicken with the salsa spooned over top.

This tasted great: tart, a little sweet, herby and light. I'm sure I could have put some time into making this look prettier, but after making the quinoa fritters, too, I just didn't have the energy. And when you're talking about home meals, looks aren't everything...  

 

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