June 09, 2011

Corn encrusted chicken with fruity pico de gallo and cilantro lime rice

I have had corn encrustment on the brain lately. "Oh gross," you are thinking,"is she really going to tell us about her foot disease on a cooking blog?" But no, I'm not referring to some sort of foot disease. I'm talking about encrusting meat with corn meal, and then cooking it.

I really don't know why this idea popped into my head, but it has been there a while, and it won't go away. So today I decided I would finally do it.
Originally I kept thinking about corn encrusted halibut, but something (we'll call it lack of monetary means to support possible culinary disaster with expensive fish) stood in my way. So, the old standby: skinless, boneless chicken breast.

On a day like today- in the mid-seventies- you don't want to turn on the oven, so I decided to barbecue the chicken, and I was shocked (for some reason) when it actually turned out really good. This is a great summer meal because its light and fresh tasting, really simple, fairly healthy, and the rice dish could even be served cold so you wouldn't have to turn the oven on at all.

Corn encrusted chicken with fruity pico de gallo 
and cilantro lime rice
serves 2
1 jalapeno, minced
1 cup pineapple, diced
1/2 cup mango, diced
1 cup red onion, diced
1 tbsp lime juice
3/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided + more for serving
2 chicken breasts
1/3 cup cornmeal (such as Maseca)
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper
about 3 cups cooked rice
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp lime juice
several turns freshly ground pepper

for serving:
sour cream
cotija cheese
lime wedges
Combine first five ingredients in a medium bowl, add 1/4 cup of the chopped cilantro. Mix and set aside.
Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry with a paper towel. Season both sides of both chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Spread corn meal out in an even layer on a plate and sprinkle with cayenne pepper and cumin. Lay both chicken beasts onto the corn meal, then flip them, so that the corn meal sticks to both sides of the chicken. Heat a bbq to medium-high heat. Cook chicken on each side for about 8 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reaches 165.
Mix pre-cooked rice together with salt, lime juice, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the chopped cilantro.
Serve each chicken breast with a scoop of rice, the fruity pico de gallo, sour cream, cotija, lime wedges, and the remaining cilantro. Enjoy. 

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