The first thing that comes to mind when I think of mango salsa is the one from the mexican grill restaurant, La Salsa. Although it is by no means the world's best mango salsa, I always look forward to it since it's only in season for a few weeks out of the year. Plus, I always eat spoonfuls of that salsa on its own, and love it.
I decided to grill some jerk chicken and pair it with some homemade mango salsa. I love how sweet and spicy things always complement each other so well. The jerk chicken is perfect enough to eat alone. If you simply add the glaze to the jerk chicken and stop there, the flavors will dance in your mouth. Add the mango salsa, and you will have fireworks. This is truly a meal that holds insanely well together, yet can be thoroughly enjoyed in parts. You could even eat spoonfuls of the mango salsa on its own :).
One word of caution, to control the heat if you're not a fan of a spicy kick, be sure to seed the jalapeño and habanero peppers. You can also reduce the cayenne pepper in the jerk rub. But honestly, I think the spice only adds to how well the overall meal holds together. Give it a try, you will love it!
Jerk Chicken with Habanero-Mint Glaze and Mango-Cilantro Salsa
Adapted from Bobby Flay
Yield: 2 servings
1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
1/2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 Tbsp onion powder
1/4 Tbsp garlic powder
1/4 Tbsp kosher salt
1/4 Tbsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 lbs. chicken (breast, drumstick, thighs)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 habanero chile
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup fresh mint leaves
1 largo mango, diced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Combine all jerk spice ingredients in a bowl.
2. Combine all salsa ingredients in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to meld. [Salsa may be prepared and refrigerated, covered, up to 1 day ahead. Bring to room temperature 1 hour before serving.]
3. Place vinegars and habanero in a medium nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add sugar, stirring occasionally, and cook until sugar is melted and the mixture has reduced by about half.
4. Let mixture cool for about 10 minutes and transfer to a blender. Add the mint and blend until smooth.
5. Season with salt and let the glaze cool to room temperature.
6. Season chicken with salt and rub one side with jerk seasoning. Cook side with jerk rub first (about 3-4 minutes). Then flip chicken pieces over and generouslly brush glaze over chicken pieces. Cook until chicken is done.
7. Enjoy jerk chicken topped with mango-cilantro salsa.