This recipe was given to me by my friend Rachel Reid. Rachel has an unmistakable flair for cooking – and she always offers to bring one of her amazing creations when someone is having a party. A few weeks ago, at my niece’s graduation party, I dipped a chip into the best pineapple salsa I’d ever tasted and I wasn’t surprised to learn that Rachel made it. I decided to ask her if she would be a guest blogger for Panning The Globe and she said “yes!” I hope you enjoy her recipe for Mexican spiced grilled chicken with nectarine salsa. I love it! It’s the perfect summer dish.
Rachel is an interior decorator with her own company: Reid Design, Inc. In a previous life, she was a personal chef. Though she no longer cooks professionally, Rachel is a passionate foodie who can get as excited as I do about sharing recipes.
Here are some of Rachel’s thoughts about food and cooking, in her own words:
My professional training was in art, and I think my aesthetic sense informs who I am as a chef. For me, the visual presentation of a meal is as important as how everything tastes. I love taking the time to make my food look beautiful, and I believe that effort elevates the whole experience.
Years ago, when I worked as a private chef, I particularly enjoyed the challenge of making meals that my clients loved, while following whatever dietary restrictions were important to them. That created some really interesting culinary challenges, but I think those experiences had a strong influence over how I approach cooking today.
When I cook for my family, I use fresh organic ingredients, and generally cook without gluten or added sugar. I am particularly conscious of how important eating habits are now that I have a house full of teenagers, and I feel especially pleased when I can make a healthy meal that everyone loves.
Food blogging can be a lonely business. It’s great having a pal in the kitchen – there’s something special about cooking with a friend. I’ve enjoyed many meals and conversations with Rachel over the years, but this was the first time we cooked together. It was really fun to observe her style. After the salsa was all chopped and in a crystal bowl, we found ourselves sorting through cilantro stems – trying to make just the right statement with the garnish. It became clear that we both love the creative challenges of making food look beautiful as well as taste great.
This chicken is spicy but not hot – with prominent notes of garlic and cumin. The salsa is a divine combo of juicy bits of nectarine and little crunchy pieces of bell pepper and jalapeño. The avocado adds a rich, buttery element. The garlic, lime juice and cilantro tie it all together into a wonderful spicy, tangy, bright and summery salsa!
PS – Here are two extra tidbits from Rachel. First, if you can’t find ripe nectarines you can substitute diced pineapple. Second, the spice rub also works beautifully on shrimp, but cut the marinating time to a half hour.
- 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves or thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces If you don’t want to do these as skewers leave the chicken whole.
- 2 tablespoon dark brown sugar (or substitute coconut sugar)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2-3 cloves finely chopped garlic (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Nectarine Salsa
- 2 cups finely diced nectarine (about 3 nectarines)
- ½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
- ¼ cup minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 small jalapeño or Serrano pepper seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 peeled avocado finely diced
- Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Add chicken and stir to thoroughly coat. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two. Thread chicken pieces onto 8 (12-inch) metal skewers.
- Make the Salsa Combine salsa ingredients except the avocado. Mix well. Gently stir in the avocado.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high. Cook the chicken kebabs for about 6 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with the salsa!