herbed chicken breasts with tomatillo salsa and queso fresco

I am done with winter. I am pretending that spring is almost here. So I made a warm-weather sort of dinner tonight with this recipe from the Jan/Feb 2005 Cooking Light. The tomatillos brightened the flavor, but the queso fresco made it glorious. Lord knows I'm easy where cheese is concerned, but queso fresco is good cheese. Salty cheese + tangy salsa = yummy goodness.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare salsa, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add 1/2 pound tomatillos (about 10 small), husks and stems removed, 1 garlic clove, and 1/2 to 1 serrano chile; cook 7 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Combine tomatillos, garlic, chile, 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup coarsely chopped onion, 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor or blender; pulse 4 to 5 times or until coarsely chopped. Set aside.

To prepare chicken, place 3 (1-ounce) slices white bread in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 1/2 cups. Arrange crumbs on a baking sheet; bake at 350 degrees or until lightly browned. Cool completely.

Place each of 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper; sprinkle evenly over chicken.

Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Place 1 large egg, lightly beaten, in another shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg; dredge in breadcrumbs.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Top chicken with salsa, and sprinkle with queso fresco cheese. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges, if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

Posted by astraea on January 15, 2005 | TrackBack

Ooooooooo, that recipe caught my eye, too. My neighborhood market has great Mexican and South American ingredients available, so I've had a lot of fun playing with good fresh tomatillos and queso fresco. In fact, one recipe that has come into heavy rotation since we moved here has been chicken enchiladas using blue corn tortillas, a zesty tomatillo sauce and crumbled queso fresco on top.

Posted by: jenblossom on January 17, 2005 12:38 PM
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