Thursday, July 19, 2012

Grilled Chicken Tacos with Watermelon Cotija Salad


I love making tacos at home – they’re simple, fast, and can use pretty much anything I have in the fridge – but this preparation elevates the flavor without adding any additional work! Fire up the grill, chop up some juicy summer fruit and vegetables, and serve this to friends with a good tequila cocktail. To save time I bought my chicken pre-marinated (mine was from Trader Joe’s, but you can find it in most good supermarkets or Hispanic grocery stores) – it cuts hours off the prep time. Enjoy!


Prep time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4


1 ½ lbs chicken, marinated in Mexican seasoning
12 small soft tacos (corn or flour)
½ white onion
1 bunch cilantro
2 limes
1 avocado
Optional: Hot sauce, Sour cream, Salsa


1 small seedless watermelon
1 quart multicolored heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 block cotija cheese (can substitute ricotta salata or feta)
1 bunch mint
1 bunch basil
3 tbsp olive oil
1 lime
1 avocado

Onions, Lime, Cilantro
Preheat your grill to medium high heat and make sure the chicken is thawed and soft tacos are out of the fridge. Make the taco toppings: dice ½ the white onion, chop about 1 ½ cups of cilantro, and cut your two limes into 8 segments each. Arrange on serving plate and set aside. 

An easy way to remove the peel
For your salad, lop the top and bottom off the small watermelon. Stand it on the cutting board and using a sharp knife, peel the rind off leaving just the pink fruit behind. 

For four servings the salad will only require about 2/3 of the watermelon – set the remaining 1/3 in the refrigerator for dessert or breakfast the next morning. Chop the watermelon into bite sized chunks and place in large bowl. 

Try to find brightly colored heirlooms to add color to the salad 
Wash the cherry tomatoes and cut each in half – add to the watermelon. 

Tossed Salad
Chop about 1 cup of basil and shred about ¾ cup of mint leaves with your hands – add to the watermelon and tomatoes and toss. 

Grilled Chicken
Put the chicken on the grill – while the first side cooks, chop about ½ c cotija cheese (or ricotta salata or feta) into bite-sized crumbles, and add to salad. Drizzle the olive oil and the juice of half a lime over the mixture, salt and pepper to taste.

Avocado to top the tacos
Flip the chicken and slice your two avocados – one will be added to the salad, and one will be an additional taco topping. Leave this step for the end, to avoid unsightly browning. 

Remove chicken from the grill and set aside to rest; quickly grill the soft tacos to warm and briefly char. Chop chicken, stir salad, set out the toppings and additional sauces, and serve.

Bon Appetit!!
Nutritional information:
1 Taco: Calories 286 Total Fat 12g Cholest. 82.3 mg Sodium 82.1mg Carb 12.9g Fiber 3.2g Sugars 0.4g Protein 31.1g
1 Salad serving: Calories 172 Total Fat 10.4g Cholest. 30mg Sodium 487mg Carb 12.3g Fiber 1.8g Sugars 9.4g Protein 8.7g

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