Grilled Tequila Chicken with Orange, Avocado and Pepita Salad is a fresh and easy meal. Chicken is marinated in a tequila-lime sauce, grilled and then served over a bed of watercress with oranges, pepitas, and grilled avocado!
Yes, you read that correctly. Chicken is marinated in tequila-lime sauce and grilled to perfection. It is layered over a bed of fresh watercress, shallots, pepitas, oranges and grilled avocado. This salad is a taste of spring and is perfect for Cinco de Mayo. After all, the best part of Cinco de Mayo is the food, right?
I was so excited to get my hands on The Best Mexican Recipes book by Ameria’s Test Kitchen. With endless recipes and special features including Chiles 101, the building blocks of Mexican Cooking and more, I couldn’t wait to start reading. And I never turn down the opportunity to make fresh stuffed jalapenos, empanadas, tacos or fresh margaritas. The newest book by America’s Test Kitchen is packed with these recipes and more. In fact, since the day I received the book I’ve made seared shrimp with tomatoes, lime and avocado, easy chipotle chicken tacos and this grilled tequila chicken with orange, avocado and pepita salad that I am sharing with you today.
I love America’s Test Kitchen because they not only provide the best recipes tested by experienced chefs, but their books also include the best resources to find the ingredients and equipment to create the best meal. Have you ever heard of a Cascabel chile? What about epazote or queso de oaxaca? Everything you need to know about cooking Mexican food in your own kitchen is provided in this book.
Crunchy toasted pepitas, juicy oranges, grilled avocados and tequila-lime marinade make this salad extra special. Heat your grill, grab a margarita and enjoy the taste of Mexican cooking in your own home.
Grilled Tequila Chicken with Orange, Avocado and Pepita Salad
4 (6 to 8 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
For the salad:
3 oranges, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 ripe but firm avocados, halved and pitted
6 ounces (6 cups) watercress, chopped coarse
1/3 cup pepitas, toasted
1 shallot, sliced thin
To make the marinade, in a small bowl, add the tequila, water, 3 tablespoons lime juice, garlic and salt. Whisk until well blended. Transfer 1/2 cup marinade to a small saucepan. Pour remaining marinade into 1 gallon zipper-lock bag, add chicken and toss to coast. Seal bag, pressing out any air and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, flipping bag occasionally.
Drain oranges in colander set over a large bowl, reserving juice. In another large bowl, whisk 1/4 cup oil, lime juice, honey, cayenne, salt and pepper; set aside for salad.
Brush avocado halves with remaining tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper, as desired. Remove chicken from marinade, let excess marinade drip off and transfer to plate.
To cook using a gas grill, turn all burners to high, cover and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn other burner(s) to medium. Oil cooking grate and place chicken on hotter side of grill. Cook, turning as needed, until chicken is nicely charred and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 8 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, place avocados cut side down on cooler side of grill and cook until lightly charred, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer chicken and avocados to plate and tent with aluminum foil.
Add drained orange juice to reserved marinade in saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, 3 to 5 minutes; set aside.
Whisk dressing to recombine, then add watercress, pepitas, shallots, and drained oranges and toss gently to coat. Arrange salad on a plate. Peel grilled avocado, slice thin and lay on top of salad. Slice chicken on bias into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Layer chicken over the top and drizzle with reduced marinade. Serve immediately.