Sauteed Chicken with Clementine Salsa

Does everyone  have a little box of Cuties or clementines on their kitchen counter right now?  We've been eating them like candy....a bowl of them on the coffee table in the living room, another bowl in the kitchen, and a stash in the fridge. They’re everywhere right now and absolutely irresistible.  I found this recipe in Bon Apetit magazine a while back and have been meaning to make it and, well, with 4,000 clementines in the house, it seemed like a good time, right?

So the clementine is the hesperidium of a variety of the mandarin orange.  I have no idea what that means, but I found it on Wikipedia.  I was just wondering if the clementine was actually a tangerine, and it turns out it’s a hybrid of sorts, the clementine being seedless.

You don’t really need to know all that to enjoy this dish though.  What we have is a nice organic, free-range chicken breast, topped with a flavorful salsa comprised of chunks of clementine, grape tomatoes, poblano chiles, basil, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and a little red onion, the flavors of which meld into a very lovely salsa.  The juice of a few clementines are reduced to also create a sauce and it all just tastes dad-gum good together.

At the risk of sounding naggy, I must mention (once again)...DO NOT overcook your chicken breast!!  It’s certain death to any dish no matter how wonderful it’s accompanying components.  For tips on how to cook your chicken perfectly, check this out.

This salsa would also be fabulous over grilled fish or shrimp, and if you added some black beans and jalapenos, it could be a killer salsa with chips. 

Sauteed Chicken with Clementine Salsa
Printable Recipe

Adapted from Bon Apetit Magazine

4 5-ounce chicken breast halves
4 clementines, peeled, diced (about 1 cup)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 serrano chile, seeded, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup fresh clementine juice (from about 6 clementines)

Pour 6 cups of water (for 3 or 4 breasts) in a large bowl .  Add 3 tablespoons of kosher salt and 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Whisk until the salt and sugar are dissolved and then add the chicken breasts.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

Mix clementines and next 8 ingredients in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Salsa can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover; let stand at room temperature.

Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry.  Add a drizzle of olive oil to a 12"skillet, and heat to medium high. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and lay them salted side down in the pan.  Drizzle a little more olive over the top of the breasts and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Cook over medium high heat on the first side for about 4 minutes and then turn them.  Cook another 2 or 3 minutes and then cover the pan, remove from the heat and just let them sit covered for 15 minutes.  The residual heat will continue to cook them.

Transfer chicken to platter. Add clementine juice to skillet; boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, stirring often, about 2 minutes.

Drizzle sauce over chicken. Spoon salsa over and serve.