Tex-Mex Chicken Under a Brick
Chicken under a brick was born in Italy, but the Mexican version, pollo a la piedra (chicken under a stone), was my inspiration for a Tex-Mex rendition flavored with cilantro, chiles, lime, and tequila. I use some of the ingredients as a marinade and some for a quick salsa to serve with the chicken. Serve with tortillas for wrapping.
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 oz. each), trimmed, rinsed, and patted dry
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
2 fresh jalapeños, cored, seeded, and chopped (for more heat, include the ribs and seeds)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. tequila
2 large ripe red tomatoes (about 12 oz. total), cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
Wrap two bricks (or two large cast-iron skillets), in foil (shiny side out). Arrange the breasts in a baking dish. Generously season them on all sides with 1-1/2 tsp. salt, pepper, the cumin seeds, and the garlic. Combine the cilantro and jalapeños in a medium bowl; pat half of this mixture onto the chicken and refrigerate the other half. Pour 1/4 cup of the lime juice and 1/4 cup of the olive oil over the chicken, turning to coat both sides. Sprinkle the tequila on top. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Shortly before you’re ready to grill, combine the remaining cilantro mixture with the tomatoes in a small bowl. Toss with the remaining 2 Tbs. each lime juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a gas grill to high or prepare a hot charcoal fire. Brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the chicken breasts on the grate at a 45-degree angle to the bars. Set one brick (or skillet) on top of two breasts each and grill for 3 minutes. Flip the breasts, cover again with the bricks, and continue grilling until cooked through and firm to the touch, another 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to plates or a platter. Garnish with the salsa and serve.
nutrition information (per serving):
Photo: Ben Fink