Being a lover of Tex-Mex and Southwest cooking, I find Bobby Flay's recipes enticing whenever flipping through his books. Although I let the sometimes lengthy ingredient lists and long processes stop me from cooking the most intriguing recipes, every now and then I decide to give it a go, like these Spanish spice-rubbed chicken breasts with parsley-mint sauce (quite the mouthful).
The aromas that filled the house when both grinding the spices and making the sauce had me salivating, hardly able to wait to get this to the fire. Then off the grill, the picture-perfect chicken with the flowing green sauce perked my enthusiasm just that much more. Finally it was time to eat, but only one problem—I was left trying to find all those wonderful smells and looks in the taste.
I'm not saying this was in anyway bad, quite the contrary. The chicken was moist with a mildly spiced and crisp skin, and the sauce gave a balance of freshness with a slight heat, but for all that went into this, it was missing a robust punch that I was so positive was going to be there.
Spanish Spice-Rubbed Chicken Breasts
Adapted from Grill It by Bobby Flay.
- 4 bone-in split chicken breasts
- For the brine
- 2 quarts cold water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup salt
- For the rub:
- 2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- For the parsley-mint sauce:
- 2 serrano chiles
- 1 1/2 cups tightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2/3 cup tightly packed fresh mint leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk together the ingredients for the brine until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Place the chicken breasts in the brine, using a plate to keep them submerged, and brine in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes.
While the chicken is brining, combine all of ingredients for the rub in a small bowl. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the breasts on all over with the rub and place in a Ziploc bag and let sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Grill the serrano chiles until charred on all sides and remove to a small bowl, cover, and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Peel and roughly chop the chiles and add them along with the parsley, mint, and garlic to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the honey and mustard and process until combined. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Brush the chicken lightly with olive oil and grill, skin side down until golden brown and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the breasts over, cover, and continue to cook until an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast, about 5 to 10 minutes more.
Transfer chicken to a platter and immediately drizzle with some of the parsley-mint sauce. Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve with additional sauce on the side.