If you’re like me, you are searching for a little bit of sunshine and warmth here in the frozen midwest. Although the change of seasons is appealing, sometimes January and February are just a little too extreme to the lower level of the thermometer for my liking.
So let me introduce to you this Chicken with Clementine Salsa. It’s light. It’s bright. And it’s oh so full of that warm and spectacular California sunshine.
Have you tried the California Cuties brand of clementines? I learned about this specific brand of citrus from Mom a couple years ago, and have quickly grasped the fact that they are ALWAYS great. No longer will I individually choose clementines from the fresh produce bins at the store, to only be disappointed when I sink my teeth into them at home. I now simply pick up one of the Cuties bags or boxes, and I’m set with a brand I’ve come to trust.
These clementines are super sweet, extremely easy to peel, mostly seedless, and the perfect size for young hands. Over the past two weeks, we’ve finished off almost two 5-pound boxes of this eating pleasure. It’s been the snack of choice at home and an easy (and healthy!) treat to pop into the school backpack. Very refreshing after a month of high sugar holiday celebrations.
If you’ve been craving a light yet satisfying main entree, give this Chicken with Clementine Salsa a try. There’s something very special about the salsa. The sweet clementines combined with the pungent basil and bite of chile is really lovely. And the dish makes a beautiful presentation, full of texture and color. Good enough to serve to company.
Chicken with Clementine Salsa
4 5-oz. chicken breast halves
salt and pepper, to taste
2 T. olive oil
for the salsa:
3 clementines, peeled and diced
1 c. quartered cherry tomatoes
1/4 c. finely diced red onion
1/2 c. finely diced celery (or green bell pepper is also good)
1/4 c. coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/4 c. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. fresh lime juice
1/2 of a serrano chile, seeded and minced (use a whole chile if you like more heat)
salt and pepper, to taste
for the sauce:
1/2 c. fresh clementine juice (from about 6 clementines)
Place chicken breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap, leaving some space between each one. Using a mallet or rolling pin, pound the chicken to 1/4″ thickness. This can be done 1 day ahead, covered, and refrigerated.
In a medium bowl, mix together all the salsa ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste. This can be made up to 2 hours ahead of serving. Keep refrigerated. Let come to room temperature before serving.
Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until beautifully browned and cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate. Make the sauce by adding the clementine juice to the hot skillet. Boil until the juice reduces by half, stirring often. This will only take a couple minutes.
Drizzle sauce over individual chicken breasts. Spoon salsa over the chicken breasts and serve.
Source: adapted slightly from Bon Appetit, December 2009