Monthly Archives: June 2006


Cuban Fried Chicken on Latin Chopped Salad

Serves 6

Cuban Fried Chicken
3 tablespoons cumin seeds
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 3 limes
Juice of 2 oranges
Juice of 1 grapefruit
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch by 3-inch strips
Vegetable oil or trans-fat free shortening for frying
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

Latin Chopped Salad
1 bag ready-to-eat mixed greens
1 cup garbanzo beans
1 cup calypso beans or red beans
1 medium zucchini, cut in half, grilled, and diced
1 cup diced tomatoes
2 ears grilled corn, cut off the cob
Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette (see recipe), to taste
1/2 cup crumbled Cabrales blue cheese, for garnish
1 to 2 avocados, diced, for garnish
Fried plantain chips, for garnish

For the Cuban Fried Chicken: To make a marinade, place the cumin seeds in a dry pan and toast over medium heat, shaking the pan until the aroma of the seeds is released, about 1 minute. To a blender, add the toasted seeds along with the garlic, salt, pepper, and citrus juices. Blend to combine thoroughly. Transfer marinade to a large bowl. Immerse the chicken strips in the marinade and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When ready to cook the chicken, place the flour in a shallow baking dish. Remove the marinated chicken strips from the bowl and dredge them in the flour. Set aside.

Heat 1/2- to 3/4-inch of vegetable oil or shortening in a large, heavy pan over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. In batches, place chicken in the pan and fry 3 to 4 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Remove chicken from oil and place on a rack over a platter lined with paper towels to drain.

For the Latin Chopped Salad: In a large mixing bowl, combine the mixed greens, beans, zucchini, tomatoes, and corn. Add Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette to taste and toss thoroughly.

To Serve: Divide Latin Chopped Salad evenly between six chilled dinner plates. Top with Cuban Fried Chicken strips, crumbled Cabrales blue cheese, avocado, and plantain chips. Serve immediately.


Grilled Tequila Lime Pineapple Chunks

Serves 6

1 large, ripe pineapple
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Soak 1 dozen small bamboo skewers in cold water. Cut off top and bottom of pineapple. Stand it upright on the cutting board and cut off rind, using a sharp knife and smooth downward motions. Remove any remaining “eyes” with the tip of a paring knife. Cut in quarters lengthwise and cut out and discard woody core. Cut flesh into 1 or 1 1/2-inch chunks.

In a medium bowl, combine tequila, lime juice, and sugar. Add pineapple chunks and toss to coat. Let marinate 30 minutes at room temperature.

Preheat grill or broiler to medium high. Drain pineapple chunks and divide among skewers. Wipe grill with an oiled paper towel, and place skewers on grill at an angle. Cook a total of 6 to 8 minutes, turning frequently, until outside is lightly caramelized. Remove from grill, let cool slightly, and serve skewers accompanied by bowls of your favorite fruit sorbet or ice cream.


Three Bean Salad with Bacon Dressing

Serves 4 to 6

3 cups water
1 1/2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths on the diagonal
2 slices bacon, thinly sliced crosswise
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded if desired, and minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Lemon wedges, for garnish

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan with a good pinch of salt. Cook the green beans until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and scatter on paper towels to cool. Transfer to a plate and chill.

Fry the bacon in a skillet until crisp and drain on paper towels. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat to a small bowl and add the vegetable oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, pepper, and jalapeños. Whisk until smooth.

Combine the green, black, and red kidney beans in a large serving bowl. Pour on the dressing and gently toss to evenly coat. Scatter the bacon over the top and serve with lemon wedges.


Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette

Makes about 2 cups

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey, warm
2 dried chipotles, stemmed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Add all the ingredients to a blender and combine thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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