Key West is Best…

Well I promised this post yesterday, but I have to admit I got sidetracked taking pictures at Huntington Beach State Park here in South Carolina.  The pictures came out really good but at the end of the day I was not motivated enough to reverse engineer the quantities for the marinade ingredients. (As most of you know, I “eyeball” many of my ingredient quantities for a first run on a recipe, hence, the reverse engineering technique) Before I started this recipe I looked on line and saw that there are quite a few “Cilantro – Lime” chicken recipes. Because I did not want this to get lost in the crowd, I decided to use Key Lime juice instead of regular limes to give the flavor a bit more depth (less acidic and more flavor) and some Spanish smoked paprika to add that special touch (soft smokey goodness). The only salt component is the soy sauce and even that is on the light side because I wanted each of the marinade ingredients to shine in the finished product.

The real reason that I wanted to do this type of chicken is because I needed something to go with my inaugural run for fried plantains as a side. I originally had plantains at a Cuban restaurant in Miami’s South Beach and have always wanted to try to make them.  They are super easy and came out perfect but I did melt a spatula in the process so nylon and plastic should not be used to get them out of the pan.  OOps!

Because I did not deliver on my promise to write yesterday,  I am putting all of the recipes for this meal in this entry.  I hope you try them and enjoy!

Key West is Best

Key Lime – Cilantro Chicken

Gary Bechard –The Well Fed Cyclist


2 – Boneless skinless chicken breasts (large, about 1.3 lbs, trimmed of fat)



3/4 cup – Key Lime juice (I used Nellie & Joe’s brand, which you can find in the juice aisle or you can squeeze the juice from an entire bag of Key limes)

1/4 cup – Peanut oil (canola or vegetable would also work)

2 tsps – Cumin

1 ½ tsps – Spanish smoked paprika

3/4 cup – Fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tsp – Soy sauce (I used the Kikoman Lite sodium version)

2 tsp – Coarse ground black pepper

1 tsp – Red pepper flakes

Construction Instruction:

In a large bowl combine all of the marinade ingredients and whisk together until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Place chicken in a large sealable plastic bag or a deep baking dish and cover the chicken with the marinade. Then seal the container and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (more for deeper flavor). Make sure to turn the meat in the marinade occasionally so that all sides get a turn soaking up the goodness.

When the chicken is done marinating, heat your grill to around 350 to 400 degrees. Place chicken on the heat and grill for about 5 minutes, turn over, another 5 minutes, turn over to get good grill marks. Keep turning the chicken every 5 minutes until done. The chicken will take around 25 to 30 minutes overall and will be a bit firm when you press down on them with your fork or tongs and should have clear juices if you put them on a plate.

It’s the B.B.C! (salad that is)

(Black Bean and Corn Salad)

1 – Can of golden sweet corn (I like the yellow and white because it makes the salad more colorful) (regular size can, 15 oz))

1 – Can of black beans (regular size can., 15 oz)

½ – Red bell pepper (fine diced)

½ – Green bell pepper (fine diced)

¼ – Sweet onion (fine diced) (more if you like that sort of thing)

1 – Handful of fresh parsley (chopped fine) (dried works but you do not get the full flavor)

1 – Tablespoon coarse ground black pepper

1 1/2 – Turns around the bowl of extra virgin olive oil (a little less than ¼ cup, you do not want to drown the salad)

3 to 4 – Splashes of white balsamic vinegar

In a large colander, pour in can of beans and rinse with water. Then, take can of corn and pour over the beans and drain well. Add these items to a large bowl and lightly mix together. Next add red bell pepper, green bell pepper and onion. Mix these items together until all ingredients are evenly disbursed. Add parsley, black pepper and do the rounds with the olive oil, splash with balsamic vinegar and mix well making sure all of the ingredients are coated well. Chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours and serve.

This is good as a salad but it also makes GREAT quesadillas. For this you will need some burrito size tortillas (I use whole wheat but white is fine. Whatever turns your crank) and about 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar or mixed Mexican cheese.   Take a large cookie sheet and spray with non-stick cooking spray and place one tortilla down, layer some of the salad at about “one bean’s depth” making sure that there is one layer. (Note: on a normal size cookie sheet you can usually fit one large and a half and that is about it.) Take cheese and spread evenly over the top of the salad mixture. Make sure that the cheese in not overly thick. Add the next tortilla(s) to the top and place in a 350 degree pre-heated oven. Heat until you can see the cheese melting on the inside and serve.

As a side note, I have also been known to add shredded cooked chicken to make black bean and chicken quesadillas for your meat eating friends or serve as a warm entrée without the tortillas.

Plantains – Find 3 to 4 ripe plantains (they will be the green ones with some black spots on them), cut them into 1/4 inch slices.  In a deep pan, put about an inch of peanut or canola oil in the bottom and bring the oil to about 300 degrees. (If you do not have a thermometer, you will see a shimmer on the oil when it is ready). Place the plantain slices in the oil and remove when they are a golden brown. Put the finished plantains on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with coarse ground sea salt and serve immediately.


The Well Fed Cyclist


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