Growing up in California, I learned to love Mexican food from an early age. I had the privilege of being exposed to authentic Mexican cuisine from the time I was old enough to hold a taco shell in my hands and my father instilled my love for hole-in-the-wall restaurants tucked away on lazy street corners.
Although I learned to appreciate the quality of the flavors of Mexican cuisine, I didn’t exactly understand what made it so good. I certainly didn’t know the difference between a Serrano and a jalapeño, let alone how many different types of mole exist. But, I knew there was something magical about the combination of ingredients that made even a simple taco absolutely delicious.
When I moved to Texas, I was devastated to leave behind many of my favorite local eateries, especially Don Pepe (which makes the best spicy shrimp tacos). I was also disappointed with all the Tex Mex in Dallas. I thought it was imitating Mexican food and not doing it any justice. Over time though, I learned that Tex Mex merits its own appreciation not in spite of, but because of it being completely unique from the food I grew up on in California. And there are some seriously good restaurants in Dallas that have made me a proud Tex Mex devotee.
That being said, I still carry a soft spot for the Mexican cuisine I know and find that I naturally gravitate towards using Latin American ingredients when I cook. Most recently, I’ve developed a passion for tomatillos – the green cousin of the tomato, native to Mexico and used in salsa verde. If you have never tried one, they have a mild, slightly acidic flavor that to me, resembles a cross between a bell pepper and tomato. If you haven’t used them before, I know they might seem daunting, but they are incredibly easy to cook with and so delicious!
Tomatillos are the star of this creamy avocado salsa verde (which I could eat by the spoonful) and make these chicken tostadas irresistible. I originally used the sauce atop rotisserie chicken tostadas, but I have to say, this honey lime chicken takes this dish to the next level. If you want to save time, you can absolutely make the chicken the day before. I even like to serve it cold on the tostada during the summer when hot food does not sound as desirable.
This recipe will definitely be on the menu for many weeks to come and I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Creamy Avocado Salsa Verde
- 1 lb. tomatillos (about 5-6)
- 1 serrano pepper (stemmed)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup diced white onion
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 avocado
- Juice of one lime
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Honey Lime Chicken
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Zest of one lime
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- S+P to taste
- 6 corn tortillas
- 3 cups shredded cabbage
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
- cilantro to garnish (optional)
- Starting with the salsa verde, preheat your oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
- Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse to remove any sticky residue. Pat dry and place on the lined baking sheet with the 2 cloves of garlic and Serrano. Lightly drizzle the tomatillos and Serrano with olive oil and roast everything in the oven for 20 minutes, turning everything over at 10 minutes.
- Once you remove the sheet pan from the oven, add the tomatillos, Serrano, and garlic to a food processor. Add in the avocado, cilantro, olive oil, and salt and pulse the ingredients into a smooth consistency. Pour the salsa verde into a bowl and set aside in the fridge.*
- Moving on to the chicken, place both chicken breasts in a plastic bag (or between two sheets of plastic wrap) and using a mallot, pound the chicken into 1/4 inch thickness.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lime zest, honey, chili powder, garlic, and olive oil together to create the marinade. Pour the marinatde into the bag containing the chicken, making sure the marinade coats the chicken completely. Place the chciken in the fridge and allow it to marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
- Once the chicken has had sufficient time to marinate, remove from the frdige and allow it to come back up to room temperature while you preheat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil (do not olive oil due to its low smoke point) in a grill pan/skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the chciken to the pan and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the chciken on the first side for 6-8 minutes, being sure not to move it around a lot during this time. Once the chicken develops a dark brown crust on the first side, flip it and cook it for an additional 4-6 minutes (the second side will cook faster).
- Remove the chicken from the pan once fully cooked and allow it to rest for 3-5 minutes before dicing it.
- Turn on the broiler in your oven and place the corn torillas on an unlined baking sheet. Spray the tortillas with cooking spray and place them in the oven for 3-5 minutes until the edges have lifted and air pockets have formed.
- Place the tortillas on plates and top each one the cabbage, chicken, and a hearty drizzle of the salsa verde. Finish them off with red onion, cotija, and fresh cilantro.
*You can store any leftover salsa verde in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-5 ays after making it and it will keep well!. Note that calorie calculation is based on using all of the salsa verde as well.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 tostadas Serving Size: 1 tostada
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 281Total Fat: 18.2gSaturated Fat: 5.5gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 318mgCarbohydrates: 25.1gFiber: 6.7gSugar: 4.8gProtein: 8.5g