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Cilantro Chicken
with California Avocado and Pickled Tomato Salsa

Cilantro Chicken with California Avocado and Pickled Tomato SalsaRecipe created by chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger for the California Avocado Commission.

Recipe Ingredients:

Pickled Tomato Salsa:
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut in quarters
1/2 bunch green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
2 serrano chiles, with seeds, thinly sliced in rounds
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons cracked black peppercorns
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Cilantro Chicken with California Avocado:
4 (6-ounce) boneless chicken thighs or breasts, with skin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
4 green onions, trimmed

2 ripe Fresh California Avocados, peeled, seeded and cut
2 cups cooked brown basmati rice for accompaniment

Cooking Directions:

  1. For Picked Tomato Salsa: In a large bowl, toss tomatoes with green onions and chiles.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar to a boil. Add brown sugar, packed and salt, and cook until dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and reserve.
  3. Measure ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, cracked peppercorns, cumin, cayenne and turmeric onto a plate and place near stove. In another medium saucepan, heat oil over moderate heat until just smoking. Add spices and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until aromas are released, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar mixture. Immediately pour over reserved tomato mixture. Stir to combine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours or several days.
  4. Before serving, remove tomatoes from juices, roughly chop, and return to pickling liquid.
  5. For Cilantro Chicken with California Avocado: In a shallow, non-reactive dish, season chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. Combine olive oil, lime juice, cilantro and cumin in a small bowl. Brush mixture on green onions and pour remainder over chicken, tossing to evenly coat. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat broiler or grill. Beginning with skin side toward the heat source, broil or grill chicken until just cooked through, about 12 minutes per side for thighs and about 9 minutes per side for breasts. Grill or broil green onions about 2 minutes per side.
  7. Toss Pickled Tomato Salsa with diced avocados and reserve until chicken is cooked.
  8. To serve, arrange grilled chicken over a bed of basmati rice. Mound avocado salsa mixture on top of chicken. Garnish with grilled green onions. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.


To peel tomatoes, remove the cores and score an X on the underside. Blanch for 15 seconds in boiling water and immediately plunge into iced water to prevent continued cooking. Peel with a paring knife.

Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Recipe and photograph courtesy of California Avocado Commission.