We eat far too much chicken. I blame the health nuts. Everyone got so scared of cholesterol way back in the 70’s that they gave up red meat. The mantra: “I don’t eat red meat” was on par with “save the rain forest” and “would you like to see my new volvo?”
Everyone seemed to go their own ways, letting Sting save the rain forest and Volvo be purchased by an american car manufacturer. For some reason, the anti red meat enthusiasts remained. Unfortunately, they were not willing to give up animal based protein and were not adventurous enough to expand their main courses to fish, wild game and birds. So chicken became the standard. Everything had chicken in it: tacos, pasta, curry, tempura and even nuggets, although it has yet to be proven that those little morsels actually have any real chicken in them.
I have a second problem with chicken. Chicken in this country has very little taste. Maybe it stems from the surge in demand and therefore the industrialization of the growing of chickens. Maybe it’s because we have all been chickened out. I don’t know. What I do know is that I eat far less chicken than most people simply because I don’t like the taste.
I think if someone with more nutritional knowledge than the quacks of the 70’s would have stepped forward, we would have all eaten less meat and chicken and would have preserved the taste treat that it once was. Since you can’t change history (even though politicians seem to keep trying to) we have to do what we can.
When I do cook chicken I try to not make it the centerpiece, at least not on it’s own. A big hunk of overfed breast on my plate is about as appetizing to me as a blob of plastic. I prefer one or two little thighs. There seems to be more taste in the darker meat and because they lack the popularity of the almighty breast, they are usually cheap. Tasty and cheap, the perfect pairing.
I like making salsas to serve with thighs. Here is a summer tasting salsa that is perfect to brighten up one of these dreary winter days. The ingredients are not local and might be a little expensive, but I justify it by knowing that the thighs were not expensive and that I try to buy local most of the time.
- 1 Mango
- 1/2 Red Onion, minced
- 1 Jalapeño Pepper, cleaned and minced
- 2 Tomatillos, minced
- 4 Roma Tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 Red, Yellow or Orange Pepper, minced
- 1 Ear Corn, roasted
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Juice of 1/2 Lime
- Salt and Pepper
- Chef’s Knife
- Mixing Bowl
- Hand Juicer (optional)
- Cut the mango by slicing the long sides about a third of the way in. This avoids the large seed. Cut around the seed the best you can. With the large end slices, score a tick-tack-toe pattern and carefully slice little cubes into the bowl cutting parallel to the skin. Trim the other pieces around the seed and also cut into small cubes.
- Cut the corn off of the cob, mince all of the vegetables and mix with the mango, except the red onion.
- Add oil and lime juice.
- Carefully add the red onion. Depending on it’s strength it can easily take over, so add it a little at a time and keep tasting.
- Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours. Overnight is best.
- Let salsa come to room temperature before serving.