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The Lemon Lime Cookbook by Richard B. Donker has been an ongoing source for some of my recipes because the use of citrus juice and zest adds a certain lightness to chicken and fish recipes. It can be used in salads, drinks and desserts so I always have lemons and limes in my refrigerator drawer or on the countertop ready to use. When shopping, purchase the yellowest lemons and greenest limes. These will have the best juice and the finest flavor. Before cutting, roll the citrus between your hands or on the countertop to release all the juices and make it easier to squeeze. Then try this recipe the next time you want to make a special chicken dish.

Tequila-Almond Chicken (2-4 servings)

Ingredients:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

½ tsp. finely grated lime zest

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 Tbsp. tequila

1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced

½ Cup blanched whole almonds (2½ oz.), chopped

¼ tsp. ground cumin

Salt

1 Tbsp. minced fresh chile (poblano or jalapeno)

1 small shallot, minced

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp. olive oil

2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into 1-inch dice

1 avocado, cut into 1-inch dice

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Using a meat pounder, lightly flatten the chicken breasts. In a large shallow dish, combine the lime zest and 1 Tbsp. of lime juice with the tequila and garlic. Add the breasts and turn to coat with marinade; set aside for at least 10 minutes.

In a food processor, finely grind the almonds; do not over process or the nuts will form a paste. Transfer to a large plate. Add the cumin and ½ tsp. salt and toss well.

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1 Tbsp lime juice with the chile, shallot, and 1 tsp. olive oil. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the tomatoes and avocado.

Remove the garlic slices from the chicken marinade. Pat the almond mixture on both sides of each breast half to coat thoroughly.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 Tbsp. butter in ½ Tbsp. of olive oil over high heat. Add 2 of the chicken breast halves, reduce the heat to moderate, and cook until golden brown on the bottom (about 5 minutes). Turn the chicken and cook until browned on the second side and cooked through (about 3-4 minutes). Transfer the chicken to plates, cover to keep warm, and wipe out the skillet. Repeat with the remaining butter, oil, and chicken.

Season the tomato-avocado salad with salt and pepper, spoon it over the chicken and serve.

Note: Permission of author granted in reprintingthis recipe.