Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Grilled Chicken Tacos with Pickled Jalapenos

This casual, light, California-style taco dinner is about bold, fresh flavors and make-ahead ease. The pickled jalapenos and simple cabbage slaw can—and should—be prepared several hours or a day ahead. Then all you need to do is pan-grill the chicken tenders and warm the tortillas just before mealtime.

Tip: Use any leftover pickled jalapenos to top grilled burgers or taco salads.

Makes 8 tacos


For the Pickled Jalapenos
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fine salt
  • 8 jalapenos sliced into thin rings
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
Jalapenos and Brine Mixture 
Sliced Jalapenos
For the Tacos
  • 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1-1/4 lbs chicken breast tenders
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 8 6-inch flour tortillas, warmed
Slaw Ingredients

For the Pickled Jalapenos
  1. Combine both vinegars, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently until the sugar and salt dissolve. 
  2. Add the jalapeno slices, garlic, and black pepper and return to a light simmer. Cook 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and steep 1 hour.
  3. Pour the mixture into a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight). Drain and remove garlic before serving.
Jalapenos in Brine
Jalapenos after Steeping 1 Hour
Slaw (recipe below) and Pickled Jalapenos
For the Tacos
  1. Combine the vinegar, lime juice, and sugar in a small bowl, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine the cabbage, scallions, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or overnight).
Slaw Dressing
Slaw Mixture
  1. Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat and brush with oil.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and grill until golden and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a cutting board and let rest 3 minutes. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
Chicken Beginning to Grill
Grilled Chicken Tenders
Serve the chicken with slaw, jalapenos, and tortillas and let your guests build their own tacos.

Grilled Chicken Tacos with Pickled Jalapenos

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