Tequila-lime Chicken With Cilantro
Posted by: Jack Wed, 2 Feb 2005, at 11:30 a.m.
3/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Juice of 3 limes
1/2 cup Lemon Oil (see Note)
5 large shallots, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus 1 large bunch cilantro, leaves only
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, trimmed of all fat
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup canola oil
If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least an hour.
In a small nonreactive container, combine 1/2 cup of the tequila with the
vinegar and lime juice. Whisk in the Lemon Oil. When well emulsified, stir in
the shallots, chopped cilantro, and 1 teaspoon of the minced garlic. Pour into a
nonreactive, shallow container large enough to hold the prepared skewers. Set
Using a very sharp knife, slice the chicken into 30 strips about 1/4-inch thick
and 2 inches long. Thread the strips onto the soaked skewers and place them into
the marinade, leaving as much of the skewer exposed as possible as you do not
want the wood to soak up the marinade. Cover and marinate for 8 hours.
Place the cilantro leaves in a saucepan of rapidly boiling salted water for 10
seconds to blanch and set the color. Immediately pat dry and refresh under cold
water. Drain very well and pat dry.
Place the blanched cilantro in a blender with the remaining 1/4 cup of tequila
and 1 teaspoon of garlic. Pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly add
the canola oil, processing until the mixture is thick and bright green. Taste
and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
When ready to serve, remove the skewers from the marinade. Place a stovetop
griddle, heavy-duty grill pan, or nonstick sauté pan over high heat. When very
hot but not smoking, add the skewers, a few at a time, and sear for 1 1/2 to 2
minutes per side or until the chicken is nicely browned and cooked through.
Serve immediately with the Cilantro Dressing on the side.
NOTE: To make Lemon Oil, combine 2 cups of vegetable oil with the shells of 4
lemons that have already been juiced and a few sprigs of fresh thyme in a heavy
saucepan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately
lower the heat and barely simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow
to cool. Strain into a clean container. Cover and store in a cool spot for up to
6 months. Use the oil for sautéing, frying, and for vinaigrettes.