You are going to fall in love with this gorgeous little dish. Furthermore, I’m sure you’ll want to use the Avocado Butter and the Grapefruit-Honey Vinaigrette in other dishes you make.–Norman Van Aken
LC Hand Holding Note
At first glance, this recipe may seem complicated, but don’t be fooled. It’s written so as to hold your hand every step of the way, from making the oh-so impressive garnishes, to coating and frying the chicken strips, to presenting the food like a pro. The last drop of advice from the authors concerns the best wine to accompany the masa-crusted chicken – a white wine from Crozes-Hermitage or a young Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc will do the trick.
In a food processor, purée the avocado with the lime juice, cayenne, sour cream, and salt and pepper until smooth. Cover and refrigerate.
Make the vinaigrette
Whisk together the garlic oil, grapefruit juice, vinegar, honey, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside while you finish preparing the dish.
Make the spice rub
In a dry skillet, toast the cumin and peppercorns over medium heat until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Cool the spices, then finely grind them in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle. Pour into an airtight container, add the sugar and salt, and mix well.
Make the chicken
Bring out three bowls. Put 1 cup of the flour in one and season with 1 tablespoon of the spice rub. In the second, beat the eggs and sour cream until smooth. Season with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the spice rub. In the third bowl, combine the masa harina with the remaining half cup flour and 1 tablespoon spice rub.
Coat the chicken strips in the flour, shaking off any excess, then dip them into the egg-and sour-cream mixture. Finally, coat them in the masa harina mixture. In a large skillet, heat the oil to 325 degrees, and cook the chicken strips, in batches, turning once or twice, until golden brown. Drain them on paper towels.
To assemble the dish, toss the greens with just enough dressing to coat. Arrange the pepper slices around the greens on six salad plates. Cut each chicken strip crosswise in half and place them atop the peppers. Place the dressed salad greens in the center of the plates. Drop 1/2 tablespoon of avocado butter, followed by 1/2 teaspoon sour cream, on top of each piece of chicken. Drizzle a little of the remaining vinaigrette over each plate and serve.
This recipe makes a festive presentation. Throw in a side of Spanish rice or black beans, and you have a well-balanced meal. There’s a lot going on in this dish—sweet, tart, and spicy. The tartness of the Avocado Butter provides a nice counterbalance to the sweetness of the Grapefruit-Honey Vinaigrette, and the cumin-pepper spice rub on the chicken garnered some compliments from my guests as well.
What a staggeringly sumptuous recipe. The unique combination of spicy crusted chicken on a bed of colorful mixed greens, lightly dressed with a sweet vinaigrette and topped with the rich avocado butter, makes you sit back, close your eyes, and savor every single bite. Could a meal be any more satisfying? I recommend this recipe for your next big evening, especially if you have invited guests.