I’m trying to do a better job of cooking with seasonal ingredients.  To this end, I found a recipe for Clementine chicken that sounded pretty darned good and easy so I had to try it.    Costco is carrying Cutie brand Clementines from California this year and I grinned at their little stickers when I started pulling them out of the bag. 

Root for the cute? 

Cuties score?

This one was my favorite:

I know, I’m juvenile.  But I’ll take a chuckle however it presents itself.

So, now for the “serious” part of the recipe . . . the first step is to peel some of these little cuties for the salsa.

When you dice these up, remove the larger pieces of white membrane from the center.  Proceed with the rest of the salsa ingredients and when you blend, you’ll get something that looks like this . . .

You have to taste this to see what Clementines, basil and celery do to ordinary salsa.  It’s a curious combination that works very well together.

Set this aside and start on your chicken paillards (fancy word for flattened meat).  I get kind of icked about having raw chicken on my counter, so I’ve come up with a method that contains the chicken and makes cleanup a lot easier.  Spread a long piece -about 18″- of waxed paper on the counter.  Top that with an equally long piece of plastic wrap.  Lay the chicken breast on the right half and fold the left half over.  Pound with the flat side of the mallet until it’s as thin as desired.  The double thickness keeps the wrap intact and the juices contained.

 Next I browned the chicken for a few minutes per side.  When it’s done, plate the chicken and deglaze the pan with the clementine juice.  Continue cooking until the juice has reduced and then drizzle it over the chicken.  Top with the salsa and serve. 

For a simple side, I cooked a little chopped garlic in EVO oil poured it over bowtie pasta.  To that I added chopped parsley and grated parmesan, then seasoned it with plenty of freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sea salt. 

Chicken with Clementine Salsa
adapted from Bon Appetit magazine)
4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4  5-ounce chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup fresh Clementine juice (from about 6 Clementine’s)

SALSA ingredients

  • 4 Clementine’s, peeled, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Serrano chili, seeded, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation

  • Prepare Salsa by gently mixing all ingredients.  Cover and set aside at room temperature.
  • Place chicken breast halves between a large folded sheet of plastic wrap backed with waxed paper. Use the flat side of a mallet, pound chicken to 1/4-inch thickness.
  • Uncover chicken; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until slightly browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to platter. Add clementine juice to skillet; boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Drizzle sauce over chicken. Spoon salsa over and serve.
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