This is my summer go-to dinner, especially when time and forethought are in short supply. The sauce comes together in minutes, and, even better than that, there’s no “real” marinating the chicken. Let me explain.
I had been making a dish similar to this for eons; chicken breast marinated in lime and Serrano chilies, destined to be grilled. I love serranos. As a yearly grower of these fiery green beauties, this recipe was in regular rotation at mi casa. They’re hotter than a jalapeño, but their heat isn’t quite as bold—it’s more like small, precise stings of heat. One fateful Summer’s day, though, I forgot to marinade my chicken before leaving for work. With no other options for dinner in the house I had to make due. What resulted just proves that some of the best ideas happen out of accident and necessity (I’m reminded of a line from “Roseanne” where she says something along the lines of “when given no notice or other choice I really can be quite remarkable”).
Rather than throwing the chicken in the marinade for the few moments I had before I needed to cook it, willing it to take on as much flavor as it could during my quick trip from kitchen to back yard grill, I decided to reverse the process. Once the chicken came off the grill, screaming hot and chard, I laid it in a dish that the marinade had been poured into, and let it do its post-cooking rest there. The result was phenomenal. It took on noticeably more of the lime and chili flavor, and best yet, did not need copious amounts of oil to halt all the acidic lime juice from “cooking” and curing the meat into chicken ceviche, as can happen with marinating raw meat.
The chicken is spiky and fiery from the marinade, and the sauce—a Greek yogurt based affair, punctured with green flecks of cilantro—was cooling and soothing, like aloe on a summer sunburn, or feeling cold water run down your parched throat and through your entire body.
(Rub 4 ears of corn with olive oil, paprika, and coriander, and grill until tender and blistering. Toss some thinly sliced red onion in a little lime juice and salt while you wait for the corn to grill. Cut the kernels from the cobs, toss with the limey onions, and a can of drained and rinsed black beans. Toss in some cilantro leaves and you’re good to go!)
Not only is this recipe great for days when you forget or don’t have the time to marinade some chicken, but on days when there is time you can use it for doing something else. How can you beat that?! Drain a can of black beans and toss it with some freshly grilled corn kernels and you have a low effort, summer worthy dinner that’s the definition of cooking in the fast lane.
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