tropical chicken

This is inspired by Pollo Tropical’s grilled chicken breasts. My wife asked me to come up with something similar. The mayo in the marinade is uncommon, but it helps to emulsify/thicken the mixture and better adhere to the chicken fillets. The finished dish is good served with yellow rice and black beans or, alternatively, chopped and served over a salad.

2 chicken breasts, filleted (4 fillets total)
juice of one lemon (about 1/4 c.)
1/4 c. olive oil
1 T mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, chopped fine
1 1/2 t kosher salt (substitute 3/4 t table salt if necessary)
1 t cracked black pepper
1/2 t ground cumin

Combine lemon juice, mayonnaise, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin. Whisk until incorporated. Continue whisking while drizzling in the olive oil. Marinade should be of uniform color and not separate on standing.

Marinate the fillets in this mixture for as little as thirty minutes or as long as an hour. Don’t go beyond an hour or the texture of the chicken will suffer as the acid in the lemon juice begins to denature the protein in the chicken breast.

The marinated chicken breasts can be cooked in a grill pan, over a gas grill, in cast iron, or even in a George Foreman Grill. For all methods (except the GF Grill), turn the heat to high, let the cooking vessel preheat, and cook the fillets for 4 minutes per side.

For the GF Grill, preheat it and cook the chicken for about 4 minutes. I find that the GF Grill can overcook a piece of chicken if you’re not careful, so keep an eye on them if you’re using that method.

Squeeze fresh lemon juice on prior to service if desired.

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