Weeknight Shorts: Sizzle Fresh

Sometimes I have the perfect seasoning blend on hand for my cooking needs, but when I don't, I usually have the makings of it. If putting together a custom seasoning blend is intimidating to you, it's time to tackle that fear. The one used for this simple chicken dish will have you custom mixing new blends left and right!

Since the relish for this dish is filled lots of fresh, crunchy vegetables that pack a fair bit of sweetness, the rub for the chicken focuses on layering in a spicy, savory element to the meal. Smoked paprika gives it a touch of smokiness without having to fire up the grill or smoker. If you don't like fresh cilantro, substitute flat-leaf parsley and maybe a bit of diced jalapeño or other hot pepper.

I like keeping the sides for a meal like this simple. Corn on the cob can be steamed while the meal cooks and fresh melon can be sliced and served alongside it all. If you want a salad, keep it simple and focus on what's in season. With a quick dinner featuring fresh vegetables, it's good to stick with that theme. Enjoy!

Seared Chicken Thighs with Mexican Relish

  • ¾ tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp. white pepper
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 T. cooking fat of your choice (I used bacon fat)
  • 1 large ripe tomato, diced
  • ½ c. chopped sliced radish
  • ¼ c. diced red onion
  • ¼ c. chopped packed cilantro leaves
  • Lime juice, to taste

In a small bowl, combine the seasonings (smoked paprika through oregano leaves) to make a rub. Rub the mixture generously into the chicken thighs. Let rest while you prepare the skillet.

Heat the cooking fat of your choice over medium-high heat. When the cooking fat is hot, add the chicken and allow to fry without moving it for 3-5 minutes. When you do move it, it should be crisp and a bit blackened. Continue cooking using this method until the chicken is fully cooked.

As the chicken is cooking, make the relish. Combine the remaining ingredients (diced tomato through lime juice) in a medium-sized bowl. Toss to combine. Set aside.

To serve, place 2-3 chicken thighs on a serving plate and spoon a generous amount of relish over the top.

  • Yields: 3-4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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