Some meals were made for making in the summer, like those requiring all windows to be open. Martha Stewart’s cayenne-rubbed chicken with avocado salsa is one of those dishes—because you run the risk of pepper-spraying yourself out of the room if you cook it with windows closed.
Nevertheless, just as crying while cutting onions is worth the effort, so is shedding tears in a cayenne-filled kitchen while making this dish. Fortunately, it’s quick and easy to make, and there’s Febreeze to handle the aftermath.
Rob and I first discovered cayenne-rubbed chicken with avocado salsa while recipe-searching for something to make on date night a while ago. We started talking about making it again this past weekend, but Rob was wary about filling his apartment with cough-inducing fumes. We considered grilling the chicken on his balcony to cordon off the cayenne but it was raining and we were tired. Still craving this delicious recipe, I made it at my place on Monday night.
Cayenne-rubbed chicken is incredibly simple to make, looks great (I love colorful foods), and is jam-packed with flavor. To make the chicken, the recipe calls on you to combine 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper to create the rub. I, however, quadruple the cayenne and add 1 teaspoon to my mix. Once you’ve rubbed the chicken with your spicy concoction, you cook the breasts on a frying pan over medium heat. (Here, I also make a slight change and use only 1 tablespoon olive oil rather than the recommended 2 tablespoons. I also read that this recipe works wonderfully with tilapia in lieu of chicken.)
This is where the self-pepper-spraying occurs. As the chicken cooks—and you chop a small red onion and one Haas avocado and mix with 2 tablespoons lime juice to create the salsa—the cayenne will inevitably waft into the air. Coughing and crying may ensue but mostly only if you lean too closely over the pan—as I did—to inspect the doneness of the chicken. It does get into the air though.
The cayenne (especially the 1 teaspoon that I use) packs a serious punch, but the avocado salsa tames the spicy kick and adds a creamy texture and additional flavor. I ate mine with brown and wild rice and then—always one of the biggest benefits of cooking—packed up the rest for lunches later this week. I can’t wait for summer so I can start cooking this more often.