The Spanish “adobo” or spice mix was originally used to preserve meats, by using spices, salt and vinegar to create a crust and ward off spoiling. As the Spanish traversed the globe, so did their curing technique, but as skilled cooks adopted the adobo it became used more as a delicious seasoning than cure, just like the one in this simple recipe.
- ⅓ cup puffed amaranth, to serve (see Note)
- 125 ml (½ cup) olive oil
- 25 ml apple cider vinegar
- 20 g pickled jalapeño chillies, chopped finely
- 25 g garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander
- 3–4 small red radishes, thinly sliced
- salt and ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 arbol chillies
- 5 Mexican bay leaves
- 2 tsp Mexican oregano
- 1½ tsp salt, or to taste
- 4 chicken breast fillets
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
Mexican street salad
- ½ firm ripe red papaya, cut into large cubes
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into wedges
- ½ small ripe pineapple, peeled and sliced
- 2 prickly pears, peeled and quartered (see Note)
- 2 firm ripe avocado
- 1 bunch baby coriander
- ¼ cup picked mint leaves
- sea salt, to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients well and check the seasoning.
To make the adobo chicken, grind together the spices using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder until fine and well combined. Coat chicken breast fillets lightly with the adobo mix.
Place a grill on a medium heat. Brush the grill with oil then add the chicken. Baste the chicken every few minutes with a brush of olive oil to prevent them drying out. After 5 minutes, turn each piece of chicken 45-degrees to create a lattice mark. After another 3 minutes, turn the chicken over and continue cooking the other side for 5 minutes. Push gently against the thickest part of the fillet and if ready, it should be firm but spring back to the touch. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
To make the salad, arrange the fruit on large plates. Garnish with the baby coriander and mint, then the jalapeño vinaigrette. Cut the chicken on an angle against the grain in slices 1 cm thick, then arrange over the salad. Dress with a little more jalapeño vinaigrette and garnish with puffed amaranth. Serve immediately.
• Puffed amaranth is available in health food stores, where it can often be found with the breakfast cereals.
• Dragonfruit may be used in place of prickly pears if unavailable.