This fresh and tasty dish is quick and easy to prepare, making it perfect for a hot summer day lunch.
Salsa Verde is a tangy green sauce from the Mexican cuisine. It has many variations; some are raw, in some the tomatillos and pepper are roasted first, while others are cooked with added liquids. The texture can also vary from coarse to smooth.
In the version I have here I chose to process the ingredients coarsely and to cook the salsa briefly, so it will have a fresher taste and a somewhat crispy texture. You can choose how to prepare it according to your preferences, as long as you’ll be using the ingredients all the varieties have: tomatillos, jalapeno pepper, onion, garlic and cilantro.
My commitment to the Mexican cuisine ended when it came to the spices for the chicken, as I got some fresh Hungarian sweet and hot paprika which I wanted to experiment with. Here again, you can use your own spice blend or a good quality store bought chili powder mix, or Cajun spice mix.
As it was a fairly small quantity of chicken, I decided to prepare it using a panini grill pan with a metal press. I heated both first, which enabled cooking the chicken quickly and evenly from both sides. The metal press helped with creating beautiful grill marks on the bottom, which also added a subtle smoky flavor. If you don’t have such a pan, obviously any grill or frying pan can be used instead. In this case, you’ll need to turn the tenders while cooking and prolong the cooking time to 10-12 minutes.
Whichever way you’ll decide to make this dish, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the results.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
For the chicken:
1 lb (450 grams) chicken tenders
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs sweet paprika
½ tsp hot paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp cumin powder
1 Tbs olive oil
A few drops hot sauce to taste
For the salsa Verde:
1 garlic clove, roughly cut
1 small onion, roughly cut
½ jalapeno pepper
A handful of cilantro
3-4 tomatillos, cut into large chunks
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
Fresh tortillas, lightly toasted
1. The chicken: in a small bowl, mix the chicken tenders with the spices and olive oil. Cover and set aside.
2. The salsa: place the garlic, onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro and tomatillos in a small food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process coarsely and transfer to a small pot. Add the salt, black pepper and olive oil. Mix and cook over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes (or longer, if you prefer the salsa more cooked), mixing occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Cool to room temperature.
3. Place the grill pan and with the press, on medium-high heat. Once the pan and press are hot, carefully remove the press and add the chicken tenders, in one layer. Place the hot metal press on top and cook for 4-5 minutes. If you’re using regular grill or pan, cooking time will be about 10 minutes, turning the tenders halfway. Serve immediately, with the tortillas, sour cream and salsa.