VERY BERRY PATRIOTIC GRILLED CHICKEN TACOS
I don’t know about you, but when Memorial and Independence Days approach I think even more about red, white, and blue. Summer months are also synonymous with grilling (although many of us crazy Texans grill year-round), so I wanted to come up with something to make that celebrates and honors our great nation and pay homage to my current residence and no food screams Austin more than TACOS (okay, BBQ is a very close second). If you have read any of my other “InTheKitchen” posts, you know that I don’t use recipes when I cook, and I usually don’t write them (as I rarely measure anything); however, I have made a concerted effort to be more methodical when making something I want to share with others so voila…here’s my easy, healthy, fun and flirty take on an ATX staple with a patriotic twist*.
- 2 lbs chicken cutlets (or boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded down to ~1/2″)
- 1 large lemon
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ~ 4 large pinches of salt, or to taste (I use fine Pink Himalayan sea salt; salt will be used in two applications)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
- 2 cups strawberries, rinsed, patted dry and chopped (~16oz package)
- 1 cup whole blueberries, rinsed and patted dry (~4-5oz; package shown is much larger; had leftovers for smoothies!)
- 1-2 large jalapeños, rinsed, patted dry, de-seeded and diced (more or less to your desired heat)
- 1 tbsp finely minced sweet onion
- 1 tsp Agave syrup (or granulated sugar)
- 1 tsp white strawberry balsamic vinegar (I just happened to have some fancy on hand, but you can use lemon juice instead; adjust acid level to taste)
- 4 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 10-pack of small flour tortillas (or gluten free corn)
- I package Queso Fresco, at room temp, crumbled (most markets carry this popular Latin cheese and it can usually be found in the standard cheese area or sometimes the ethnic section)
Make the berry “pico de gallo” first. Place diced strawberries, blueberries, diced jalapeño, finely minced onion, agave syrup, white strawberry vinegar, and two large pinches of salt in a glass bowl (do not use metal as it does not react well to acid). Gently mix all ingredients with a wooden spoon. Lastly, add chopped cilantro and gently combine. Let “pico” rest for at least 45 minutes and up to 4 hours. TIP: Make ahead so you can mingle with guests. The reason I love chicken cutlets is because they cook so quickly. 🙂
While the “pico” is macerating (allowing those wonderful flavors to marry), place chicken in a one gallon plastic zipper bag. Add olive oil, 2 large pinches of salt, white pepper, and juice of half of the lemon (reserve the other half to cut for garnish). Let marinade for 30 minutes. Get your grill nice and hot – hatch marks equal flavor and entices the eyes. Grill each side for approximately 3 minutes, or until internal temperature of 165
While chicken is resting, grill flour tortillas for about 15 seconds on each side (if using corn, drizzle a stack with a bit of water, loosely wrap in paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds or until malleable).
Time to put these babies together! Place tortillas on a plate. Add sliced chicken, top with “pico” and crumbled cheese to your liking. Garnish with lemon wedges so people can add a squeeze to adjust to personal taste. Enjoy!
*Editor’s note: This was my first time concocting these strange sounding tacos, and I am very pleased they turned out so well. I thought about food options based on colors and balance of flavors, and was ultimately inspired by all the fresh fruit and veggies while at the market. I must admit, I was skeptical. Turns out berries actually do make a great “pico,” even with the addition of onion! And the tang from the Queso Fresco was just perfect. They are a nice light alternative to so many heavier popular pastime bites (not that I’m opposed to a big fat burger!), plus you get the added amazing healthy (loaded with tons of vitamins and minerals) benefits from the berries. I hope whoever you serve these to enjoys them as much as my guests did. They were a huge success. Yay!