Friday, April 20, 2012

Blackened Chicken Breasts with Spicy, Fresh Mango-Pineapple Salsa

Mangoes were on sale at the store the other day so, of course, I had to stock up. I never know what I'm going to make when I buy them, but I it always ends up being something really good. This latest mango creation is no exception.

I've made a mango salsa before (see it here) that goes with pretty much everything, but I thought I'd step it up a notch and create a new version. Because I wanted something a little saucier with a bit more bang, I decided to pack it full of tons of different flavors by incorporating pineapple, chipotle peppers, and my little secret ingredient: balsamic vinegar. It's an awesome, fresh salsa that is fantastic with chicken. What chicken in particular? Blackened. Simple, tasty, blackened chicken that is so easy to prepare and just plain awesome.

Spicy, Fresh Mango-Pineapple Salsa

1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp parsley
2 tsp lime juice
1 mango, chopped
1/2 can pineapple, drained and chopped 
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
1 TB sweet onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp - 1 tsp (depending on taste) chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely diced

1. Mix first five ingredients together. (Heat for about 10-15 seconds in the microwave to incorporate the honey)
2. Mix in remaining ingredients and set aside.

Blackened Chicken Breasts

Spice mix:
1/4 cumin
1/8 garlic powder
1/8 onion powder
1/8 smoked paprika
1/4 regular paprika
1/8 thyme
1/8 salt 
1/8 pepper

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1. Mix spices together and set aside.
2. Pound the chicken breasts a bit to have an even thickness. (This works really well by putting them in a zip-top bag, sealing the bag and pounding them with the flat side of a meat mallet.)
3. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.
4. Heat 1 TB olive oil in a heavy bottomed skillet. (Use cast iron if you have it.)
5. Sprinkle the spice mix on the top and bottom of the chicken and rub it in.
6. Cook chicken over med-high heat for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until no longer pink.
7. Serve with Mango-Pineapple Salsa.

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