Coconut Crusted Chicken with a Pineapple & Thyme Reduction
Jalapeño & Cilantro Couscous
I had two of my best girlfriends over for dinner the other night and I wanted to make them something special. On my trip to the grocery store, I didn’t really have any particular ideas in mind. It was one of those trips to the store where I find myself browsing the isles looking for inspiration. I was in the health food isle when I came across a bag of unsweetened coconut flakes and I just knew that was the starting point of a great recipe. This is what I came up with for a night in with the girls.
Coconut crusted chicken:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Egg wash, 1 egg beaten with a splash of water
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
♥ Preheat oven to 400°.
♥ Get two plates, one for the flour and one for the coconut flakes. Season both with salt.
♥ Make the egg wash in a bowl. Season with salt.
♥ Season the chicken on both sides with salt.
♥ Place the chicken into the flour first and then transfer it to the egg wash making sure to coat the whole surface. Place the chicken into the coconut flakes directly from the egg wash. Transfer the coated chicken to a clean plate or cutting board and repeat the process until all the chicken has been coated.
*** The previous step can be done ahead of time. Place the crusted chicken in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it.
♥ Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan. Brown the chicken on both sides to form a nice crust. The temperature should not be too high because the coconut will burn.
♥ Place the browned chicken in the oven to finish cooking, about 10 minutes.
12 ounces pineapple juice, 2 small cans
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
♥ Add pineapple juice to a hot sauté pan.
♥ Add the minced garlic and thyme and allow it to reduce.
♥ Season with salt and serve.
*** I added the thyme because it adds a nice earthy flavor to balance out the sweetness of the pineapple juice. Thyme also has natural citrus notes which go nicely with this recipe.
Jalapeño & cilantro couscous:
Couscous, follow the cooking instructions
Coconut milk, use in place of water in the couscous
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
♥ Cook the couscous according to the instructions, using the coconut milk instead of any broth or water.
♥ After cooking, add the raw jalapeño and cilantro. Season the couscous with salt and pepper.
*** The jalapeño will not make the couscous spicy as long as all the seeds and white ribs have been removed. My friend’s 3 year old son ate it.
The idea behind this recipe was to add a little bit of tropical sunshine to those of us stuck in the cold winter months. It is something that is so easy to make, especially being that most of it can be done ahead of time and couscous literally takes 5 minutes to cook. Try it with some butterflied jumbo shrimp and switch out the couscous for basmati rice for a simple change. You can also add a fruit salsa if you want to freshen things up. This recipe is simply a base. Use your creativity to come up with something special.
The Refined Palate
Xristina Miros ©2014