It's been cloudy, rainy, windy and cold for far too long now, and even though I know Charleston spring is right around the corner, I'm getting a little impatient. I needed a taste of summer tonight, and it didn't hurt that I got to use up some things in the fridge. I know I've created a recipe worth sharing when everyone at the table -- including Courtney! -- cleans their plates. She skipped the salsa, but she ate her broccoli, so I'm happy! This time, when she asked for a Star Crunch, the answer was yes! Hooray for Island Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Salsa!
This was another one of those recipes devised to use up ingredients in the fridge. I had some leftover pineapple and onion from pizza night and a jalapeno from my "almost there" svelte rendition of General Tso's Chicken (I love the challenge of lightening up something so horrendous for you, but so irresistibly delicious!). The jalapeno was not the answer, but it's getting there! Anyway...
I'm convinced there's a gene that makes you like or dislike cilantro. Given my passion for cooking (and eating!), I'm disappointed that I despise fresh cilantro. It is the only food/ingredient that I cannot stand. Anyway, if you are a cilantro person, I have a feeling that it may be a perfect extra ingredient in this dish, either mixed into the salsa or sprinkled on top. However, you won't see it in my recipe or photo -- no cilantro in this house! I know this recipe uses ground coriander, which is the seed of the same plant (cilantro is the leaf), but they taste entirely different! Anyway, cilantro or not, here's the recipe!
Island Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Salsa
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup tequila
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 small or Roma tomato, finely diced
Pinch of salt
1 tsp butter, melted
Mix coriander, red pepper flakes and salt with rice vinegar. Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag, add marinade and shake, ensuring all chicken is coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
In the meantime, heat pineapple, onion, jalapeno, tequila, honey, garlic powder and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Simmer, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Place a strainer onto a bowl and pour pineapple mixture into strainer, pressing lightly to drain the juice into the bowl. Add the juice to the melted butter and reserve for basting the chicken. Allow the mixture to cool, then mix the chopped tomato into the pineapple mixture and sprinkle with salt.
Grill the chicken on medium-high, basting with the juice/butter, until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the largest breast registers 165 degrees. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Top with pineapple salsa. Yum!
Enjoy! For more great recipes, check out The Svelte Gourmet: A Month of Main Courses at www.thesveltegourmet.com/products.html. A portion of all cookbook sales through February will be donated to the relief efforts in Haiti.