Coconut-Crusted Chicken Tacos with Mango-Corn Salsa

It’s Taco Tuesday! When I was meal-planning for the week, I realized I hadn’t done a Taco Tuesday in a while, and also that I wanted to try something new. These are breaded without a thick dredge, and baked, rather than fried, so have an extra one or two! Easy and so delicious. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* corn tortillas
* optional for serving: ripe avocado, sliced

for the chicken
* 1-1 1/2lbs chicken breast tenders (or just chicken breast cut into thin strips)
* 3/4-1C unsweetened shredded coconut
* 1/2C panko breadcrumbs
* 1t garlic powdercocotaco3
* 1t cumin
* 1/4t chili powder
* juice of 2 limes

for the mango-corn salsa
* 2 ears corn
* 1/2 a ripe mango, diced
* 1 small tomato, diced
* 1 shallot, diced
* small handful cilantro, chopped
* juice of 1 lime
* 1t apple cider vinegar
* pinch each salt and pepper

WHAT TO DO
Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with tin foil. You can also place a baking cooling rack into the baking sheet (optional) to help keep one side of your chicken pieces from getting too soggy. Set aside.

Mix all the chicken coating ingredients together in a bowl. Squeeze the limes right over the raw chicken pieces, and then toss each piece of chicken in the coconut-panko mixture to coat. Place the chicken onto your prepared baking sheet (or onto the cooling rack on the baking sheet). Bake 15-20 minutes at 350F. Then broil for 2 minutes on high to finish crisping the coconut crust.

While the chicken’s in the oven, throw your salsa together. Cut the corn kernels off the cob and saute in a little olive oil or cooking spray until it begins to char a bit. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, dice and chop the mango, tomato, shallot, and cilantro and mix together in a bowl. Add the corn and mix through. Add the lime juice, cider vinegar, salt, and pepper and mix well to combine.

Assemble your tacos and add a slice of fresh, ripe avocado for a creamy, delicate finish.

5 Ingredient Pineapple Salsa

pineappleDo you have a trick to choosing a ripe pineapple? My grandfather was a grocer and passed along some of his tricks of the trade. Picking a pineapple is one of them. First, look for one that’s a little more yellow and light green than dark green on the outside. Pull on a stem from the very center of the leafy top of the fruit. If it comes out easily – i.e., no effort – proceed. If you have to give it a hard tug or it truly resists, put it back and move onto another. Finally, flip the pineapple over and smell the “butt” end of it. If you can smell the sugar inside, that baby is ripe and ready to eat! I happen to really love pineapple – it’s my favorite fruit – and I also love that I think of my Zadie (and his¬†heavy Boston accent on the word sugar — “shug-ah”) every single time I walk by those babies in the store.

We had fish tacos for dinner. I seasoned some fresh tilapia with cumin and smoked paprika and it came out amazing. But the real winner was this incredibly simple, 5-ingredient salsa with fresh pineapple as the centerpiece. It was so light and springy/summery – and offered the perfect amount of crunch and acidity, but also sugary sweetness, to balance out the seasoning and soft, silkiness of the fish. It would also be delicious as a salad on its own (My Tiny Sous Chef put it on her tacos AND on the side to scoop up in big spoonfuls), or with chips, or on top of grilled fish or shrimp… etc. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* a big handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
* 3 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal, dark and light green parts (but not whites)
* 1/2 an English seedless cucumber (or a couple of smaller Persian cukes), diced
* 1/4 of a ripe pineapple, cored and diced
* juice of 1/2 a lemon

WHAT TO DO
Prep the cilantro, green onions, cucumber, and pineapple and toss together in a bowl. Squeeze the lemon over the top and mix again. Taste and add more lemon if you think it needs it — and try not to just eat heaping spoonfuls before serving. Enjoy!

pinesalsa