Tequila-Lime Chicken with Cilantro Dressing
- 3/4 cup tequila
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- Juice of 3 limes
- 1/2 cup Lemon Oil (see Note)
- 5 large shallots, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus 1 large bunch cilantro, leaves only
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, trimmed of all fat
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup canola oil
If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least an hour.
In a small nonreactive container, combine 1/2 cup of the tequila with the vinegar and lime juice. Whisk in the Lemon Oil. When well emulsified, stir in the shallots, chopped cilantro, and 1 teaspoon of the minced garlic. Pour into a nonreactive, shallow container large enough to hold the prepared skewers. Set aside.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the chicken into 30 strips about 1/4-inch thick and 2 inches long. Thread the strips onto the soaked skewers and place them into the marinade, leaving as much of the skewer exposed as possible as you do not want the wood to soak up the marinade. Cover and marinate for 8 hours.
Place the blanched cilantro in a blender with the remaining 1/4 cup of tequila and 1 teaspoon of garlic. Pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly add the canola oil, processing until the mixture is thick and bright green. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
When ready to serve, remove the skeweres from the marinade. Place a stovetop griddle, heavy-duty grill pan, or nonsick saute pan over high heat. When very hot but not smoking, add the skewers, a few at a time, and sear for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side or until the chicken is nicely browned and cooked through. Serve immediately with the Cilantro Dressing on the side.
NOTE: To make Lemon Oil, combine 2 cups of vegetable oil with the shells of 4 lemons that have already been juiced and a few sprigs of fresh thyme in a heavy saucepan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately lower the heat and barely simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Strain into a clean container. Cover and store in a cool spot for up to 6 months. Use the oil for sauteing, frying, and for vinaigrettes.
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