Caribbean Spiced Chicken

Buy cilantro only when it’s fresh; it should be bright and curly. To store, place the stems in a glass of cold water and cover the leaves with a plastic bag; it should keep for about a week. Wash it just before using it. Never, ever substitute dried coriander for fresh cilantro leaves.

Serves 6.

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, thinly pounded to an even thickness, excess fat and tenders removed
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh gingerroot, peeled, if desired
5 garlic cloves
½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons coriander
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
6 cilantro sprigs, for garnish
6 mint leaves, for garnish
1 lime, thinly sliced, for garnish

1. Place the chicken breasts in a large glass or ceramic bowl.

2. Place the cilantro, mint, gingerroot, and garlic in the food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until chopped. Add the cayenne, oregano, thyme, and coriander and pulse until the spices have been incorporated.

3. Wile the machine is running, gradually add the oil and lime juice and zest and combine until it forms a paste. Rub into the chicken. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours but not longer than 8.

4. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper. Reheat the skillet over a medium-high heat and when it is hot, add the chicken breasts, skin side down, one at a time, allowing the pan to reheat for about 30 seconds between additions. You do not need to add additional oil, there’s enough in the rub. Cook until the chicken is deeply browned and the juices run clear about 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a heated large serving platter and serve immediately. Garnish with the cilantro, mint, and lime.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)