Oven-baked Chicken Breast & Mango Salad

Until about 8 years ago, my family used to go to a country club on weekends to swim, have dinner, go bowling and basically have awesome family-time. I distinctly remember looking at the dinner menu one day and thinking to myself that their new dish entitled “Mango-chicken salad” looked rather interesting to my teenaged eyes. I mean, come on, mangoes, chicken and mayonnaise? What could a bit of green do to hurt that combination?

So I ordered it.

As soon as the waiter had put it in front of me, all my sisters wanted to try it! One of my sisters, MA, after eating one bite looked really put out with me and complained, “Why do you always pick all the nice things to order?!”… What could I say to that? I just offered her more salad and hoped she wouldn’t finish my dinner for me.

This memory pretty much inspired our dinner: Oven-baked Chicken Breast with Mango Salad.

Oven baked chicken breast with mango salad – taken with Roy’s iphone 4

Side note: MANGO SEASON has started! *does a happy mango dance* (whatever that might mean… just use your imagination) I bought a bunch of mangoes from Victoria Market for $1 each! I love being able to pick the ripest mango out of the fridge on a hot day and eating it over the sink, juice running down your fingers and savouring the sweet juicy-ness of the mango…Mmm…

Friends and family are currently in a no-carbs for dinner phase, so I’ve been racking my brains to come up with yummy stuff that doesn’t use carbs… no potato salads, no baked sweet potatoes, no garlic and herb breads, no pasta… and NO RICE!!! Oh the horror. Anyway, I raided the fridge and found chicken breasts and… wait for it… mangoes!

I did decide in the end to keep the mango salad and the chicken seperate, so that their flavours would be seperate, yet complement each other. And it saved me extra time and effort – no shredding chicken into the salad! Yay! I am always on the lookout for ways to save time – and still have an awesome result. =)

The mango salad works beautifully with the chicken here. The bright flavours of the mango, the crisp sweetness of the apples and the tartness of the lime just made my tastebuds go to heaven. The mayonnaise brought it all together and gave it a soothing touch.

It’s a great summer dish – minimal time over the stove and you stuff half this dish into the fridge and forget about it until it’s time to serve. The recipe looks involved, but it’s actually pretty simple: dice, mix, refridgerate, cook.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Mango Salad
Serves 4

2 medium-large mangoes, pitted and diced medium large about 1/2 inch each* (save the skins of the mangoes for serving)
1/2 a Fuji apple, diced medium fine
1/8th of a small onion (I used brown, but you could use a shallot or red onion too)
1/2 a cucumber
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1 lime
4 heaped tsp mayonnaise (you could possibly substitute this with yogurt)
tiny pinch of salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 handfuls of baby spinach, washed and drained well

1. Lightly rinse the mango skins and put them aside, skin side up to drain well.
2. Wash the cucumber, pat dry with a paper towel. Cut off the skin and get rid of the mushy interior with all the seeds. Dice and set aside – this will be the topping for the salad, so dice it pretty. You can also slice it into strips like I did in the picture.
3. Put the diced mangoes, apple and tomato in a large bowl
4. Extra finely dice the onion. Add it to the bowl.
5. Zest the lime and add the zest to the bowl.
6. Cut the lime in half and squeeze 1-2tbsp juice into the bowl.
7. Add the sugar, mayonnaise and salt and mix carefully – you don’t want to mash the mangoes to a pulp! Taste test it. At this point, you can add more lime or more mayonnaise depending on whether it doesn’t have enough kick or it’s too sour.
8. Cover with clingfilm and put into the fridge to chill for at least 1/2 an hour. While you wait, do the chicken breasts.

*I like to dice the ingredients in different sizes, not just because I can’t be bothered to measure each one to equal size, but because the different sizes mean more textures and a better flavour burst.
** You can also add 1-2tsp of chopped coriander leaves. I didn’t because I didn’t have any on-hand, but from past experience, coriander + lime = winner!

Oven-baked chicken breast
Serves 4

4 Chicken breasts, washed well, drained and patted dry
4tbsp lemon juice + zest of one lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced
3tbsp olive oil + 3tbsp extra
1/4 of a small onion
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp basil
A good pinch of salt (about 1/3 tsp)
Freshly ground Black Pepper

Step 1: Marinate the chicken
1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except the chicken breasts together well.
2. Cut off the thinner parts of the chicken breast, so that you have the main part, and 2 thinner pieces. – this will help cook the chicken more evenly.
3. Place the chicken in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and massage the mixture into the chicken.
4. Clingfilm the bowl and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and up to 24 hours.

Step 2: Cook the chicken
1. Line a large baking tray with some baking paper. Pre-heat the oven to 160 C.
2. Place a large frying pan or grill pan on high heat. Add the remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil into the pan. Once the oil is hot, place the largest pieces of chicken, skin-side down on the pan for 2 mins, or until the skin is golden brown. Take it out and place it skin side up on the baking tray. Once all four of the large pieces of chicken breast have been browned, place the tray into the oven and time 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, brown the rest of the chicken and set aside.
4. Once the 10 minutes is up, add the rest of the chicken to the baking tray, ensuring that they’re well spaced and not over-lapping.
5. Put the tray of chicken back into the oven for another 15 minutes.
6. Change the oven to top grill and increase the heat to 200. Grill for 5-10 mins, checking the chicken for done-ness.
Optional step: If you’d like a sauce for the chicken, you can deglaze the pan you fried the chicken in with a bit of white wine, and adding in the remaining marinate and juices from the baking tray.

To serve:
Slice the chicken into 1 cm slices, place it on one side of the plate. On the other side, make a bed of spinach leaves, place one half of the mango skin on it and fill with mango salad. Top the salad with the cucumber.

Enjoy!

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