Note: I’ve modified parts of this recipe, as I found a way to even more flavorful meat!
If this recipe was a man, he’d be my husband.
But seriously. This is one of the plates that made me fall in love with Spanish cooking. Simple yet flavorful, easy yet still delicious.
The Spanish place that made my favorite pechuga de pollo a la plancha sadly closed recently. This is the recipe as they made it (but it’s pretty much the same everywhere).
The key is to marinate the chicken for as long as possible (30 minutes at least) in lots of garlic, a little oil, and salt. Then cook it in a hot pan in oil!
Another tip is to use thin pieces of chicken, and tenderize it. Anytime I ordered this dish in the restaurant I loved, I could be sure I’d soon hear the cook pounding out a chicken breast for my order. You can use the old mallet if you like, but I prefer to slice the breast in half, creating two thinner pieces, and then run a multi-blade meat tenderizer like this one all over it several times. Same effect, no pulverization! How civilized.
I also pull out the “core” of the onion. That’s the garlic-shaped bulb around which all the other onion layers grow. Then you get nice, curved onion slices for topping the chicken!
Last tip – use a non-nonstick pan if you have one. Stainless or cast iron works beautifully. The chicken will stick at first, but will release when it’s ready to be flipped.
To complete the meal, serve with plain white (or yellow) rice and a cup of black beans. Add fried platanos or yuca frita to make it even better! (here’s a tip: both are available frozen at most grocery stores in the specialty frozen section!)
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 3/4 to 1 pound, halved to make 4 thinner cuts total
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
- 1/2 a large onion, sliced into crescents (see above)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
- lime wedges
- salt to taste
- chopped fresh cilantro
- black beans & rice, and fried plantains, for serving
After slicing the chicken breasts in half, tenderize them either with a mallet, rolling pin or blade tenderizer. Lightly salt the chicken and rub the cumin evenly over each piece. Place in a zip-top bag and add the chicken, chopped cloves of garlic, juice of 1/4 lime, and a little oil. Seal and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
In a large pan, heat canola oil to medium high. Add onion and a little salt, and saute until soft and brown at the edges. Remove onions to a bowl.
Lower heat to medium if you’re using a nonstick pan. Add chicken to the pan and squeeze the juice of one lime wedge over them. Let cook over medium heat until browned on each side, flipping once. This takes about 10 minutes.
While the chicken cooks, chop some cilantro and more lime wedges.
Serve chicken plated with onions and cilantro on top, and lime wedges on the side. Complete the meal with beans and rice. ¡Delicioso! [/recipe]