No but really now. This heat. You guys, it’s been so darn hot in Pretoria (and most of South Africa, in fact) this last week. I’m talking about it reaching 20°c (68°f) by 7am and by midday we’re well in the thirties and today we’ll hit a lovely 35°c (95°f). Funsies. Not. Look, I know I’m not supposed to be complaining about it because the weather really is “beautiful”. The skies are a brilliant blue, the birds are chirping and summer is in full swing but there is nothing beautiful about my hair sticking to my damp forehead or the fact that I feel like I’m melting every day. Yes, summer is wonderful but if you can’t find me all of a sudden one day, just look for a pair of flip flops surrounded by a puddle of water. #sweat
The one thing I do however love about summer is the fact that there are so many fresh fruits and vegetables available in abundance. Every week I load my shopping trolley with fresh nectarines, peaches, berries, watermelon, mangoes and the the juiciest tomatoes. Amazing fresh produce like that makes it so easy to create healthy, delicious meals and they also require minimal cooking which works for me. The less time I have to spend in a hot kitchen, the better. This week has seen a lot of fresh, fast and easy meals being whipped up within minutes. This one in particular was a favourite. Like most families, we eat chicken numerous times during the week. And as always, I’m looking for new ways to spice up a family favourite. Because I didn’t want to spend too much time in front of the stove, I decided to make a spice paste of sorts with some Enchilada spice (such a cheat!), olive oil and lemon juice before grilling the chicken breasts until they were beautifully branded by the grill pan’s ridges while still being perfectly juicy. If you don’t have enchilada spice (which you should be able to find in most supermarkets), you could use a combination of cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves and cayenne pepper. I served the grilled chicken with a fresh salsa or “pico de gallo” which is my summer stand-by. I make this salsa almost every week and eat it with absolutely everything. I just love how it’s vibrant colours and in-your-face flavour pump up anything you serve it with. I also served some heated tortillas and sour cream with the chicken and pico de gallo and the kids loved making their own little tacos.
That’s the thing with this kind of food. It’s so perfect when done en masse for a crowd because your guests can build up their own tacos or wraps. It’s casual and convivial and that’s exactly what you want in summer.
- 4 large de-boned chicken breasts, skin removed
- 4 tablespoons enchilada/mexican spice mix
- ½ teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- juice and zest of 1 lemon/lime
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cubed
- 1-2 red onions, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, de-seeded, finely chopped
- handful fresh coriander, chopped
- juice of 1 lemon/lime
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- Combine the enchilada spice, chilli flakes, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and rub over the chicken breasts.
- Heat a griddle pan over high heat then grill the chicken breasts until golden brown and cooked through.
- In the meantime, combine all the ingredients for the pico de gallo.
- When the chicken is cooked, serve with the pico de gallo and extra lemon wedges.