Grilled Chicken Cutlets with Pistachio-Avocado Relish

published May 13, 2023
Grilled Chicken Cutlets with Pistachio-Avocado Relish Recipe

A few nifty tricks and a flavorful relish helps tenderize chicken breast and keep it succulent.

Serves4

Prep25 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook10 minutes

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Grilled chicken with pistachio avocado relish drizzled on top.
Credit: Asha Loupy

Move over, burgers, ribs, and steaks! While those are often the stars of backyard barbecues, grilled chicken breasts have finally arrived. Paired with a bright, zippy sauce inspired by Italian salsa verde, these juicy, flavorful chicken breasts work well as part of a larger spread or (watch them disappear first!) or as the center of attention at a dinner party, alongside a simple salad.

Time and time again, boneless, skinless chicken breasts get the reputation for being dry and bland. But — good news, grill masters! — there are a couple easy ways to avoid that sad fate. The first is to pound the chicken breasts into an even thickness, which will result in even, quick cooking. The second is to give them a dip in an amped-up marinade of buttermilk, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and smoked paprika. The buttermilk helps tenderize the chicken and keep it succulent, while the paprika lends a deep, smoky flavor (even if you’re cooking indoors on a grill pan). 

When it’s time to cook, make sure the chicken is at room temperature (which helps ensure even cooking) before grilling it fast and hot. And, lastly, like any meat, you want to rest the grilled chicken so the juices can redistribute before slicing. Follow these steps and I promise that you will be rewarded with the best grilled chicken breasts you’ve ever tasted.

Credit: Asha Loupy

To kick up the dish’s energy, I serve it with a pistachio-avocado relish. The base starts with lots of fresh parsley and mint, garlic, lemon juice, and a couple glugs of good extra-virgin olive oil. Then, I add in roasted, chopped pistachios for texture. And, to finish everything off, chunks of ripe, creamy avocado are folded in just before serving, which brings a buttery richness that complements the lean chicken. The sauce is also amazing with grilled fish, vegetables, or pork tenderloin. 

Grilled Chicken Cutlets with Pistachio-Avocado Relish Recipe

A few nifty tricks and a flavorful relish helps tenderize chicken breast and keep it succulent.

Prep time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    medium lemons

  • 1/3 cup

    plain, full-fat Greek yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons

    plus 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    smoked paprika

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons

    divided, plus more as needed

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1 teaspoon

    coriander seeds

  • 1 teaspoon

    cumin seeds

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 to 2

    serrano peppers

  • 1/2 medium bunch

    fresh parsley

  • 1 bunch

    fresh mint

  • 1/3 cup

    roasted, shelled pistachios

  • Neutral oil, for oiling the grill

  • 1

    large ripe avocado

Instructions

  1. Finely grate the zest of 2 medium lemons into a large bowl (about 2 tablespoons). Juice the lemons until you have 5 tablespoons. Add 2 tablespoons juice to the large bowl and reserve the remaining in a medium bowl for the sauce.

  2. Add 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt to the large bowl and whisk until smooth.

  3. Prepare 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts: Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, place between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound the chicken until it is about 1/2-inch thick. Transfer to the bowl with the marinade, flipping the chicken to make sure it is evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

  4. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Meanwhile, heat an outdoor grill for direct, medium-high heat and prepare the sauce.

  5. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon coriander seeds and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds. Toast, stirring frequently, until the coriander seeds turn a shade darker and smell fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.

  6. Prepare the following, adding each to the food processor as it is completed: Peel and coarsely chop 2 garlic cloves. Trim and coarsely chop 1 to 2 serrano peppers. Add the remaining 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and pulse until finely chopped, 5 to 8 (1-second) pulses.

  7. Coarsely chop 1/2 medium bunch fresh parsley until you have about 1 cup. Pick the leaves from 1 bunch fresh mint until you have 1 cup, then coarsely chop. Add both to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped, 8 to 12 (1-second) pulses. Add 1/3 cup roasted, shelled pistachios and pulse until coarsely chopped, 5 to 8 (1-second) pulses.

  8. Transfer to the bowl with the reserved lemon juice. Add the remaining 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil and stir to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the sauce.

  9. Scrape the grill grates clean if needed. Lightly oil the grill grates with neutral oil. Place the chicken on the grill. Grill uncovered until the thickest part of the chicken registers an internal temperature of 155 to 160°F (it will get up to 165°F when it is resting), 3 to 5 minutes per side. (If you want criss-cross grill marks, rotate the chicken 45 degrees on the same side after 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.)

  10. Transfer the chicken to a plate, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, halve, seed, and peel 1 large ripe avocado. Cut into 1/2-inch chunks, add to the sauce, and gently fold until the avocado is fully coated.

  11. To serve, cut the chicken across the grain into 3/4-inch thick slices and arrange on a serving platter. Spoon the avocado-pistachio sauce over the chicken. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Substitutions: Roasted almonds or cashews could be substituted for pistachios.

Equipment variation: An indoor grill pan on the stovetop can be used to cook the chicken, cook over medium-high heat.

Make ahead: The chicken can be marinated up to 1 1/2 days ahead. The sauce, without the avocado, can be made up to a few hours ahead. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then fold in the diced avocado right before serving.

Storage: Leftover chicken and sauce can be refrigerated in separate airtight containers for up to 2 days; press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the sauce before sealing the container.