This is my recipe for Latin style grilled chicken or pollo a la plancha. It’s made with thin chicken breasts fillets marinated in a mix of orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, oregano, oil, salt/pepper. These grilled chicken breasts a la plancha are served topped with fresh cilantro and a chunky avocado salsa.
A la plancha means to be cooked on a flat grill or griddle and is a common way to cook meats and fish in Latin America and Spain. Growing up I used to love anything cooked “a la plancha”. To cook a la plancha style at home you can use a flat griddle on your outdoor grill or a griddle pan on your stovetop. Some indoor electric grills also have a flat griddle attachment that is perfect for this style of cooking.
While you can cook a variety of different cuts of meat/pork/chicken/fish a la plancha, it does tend to work best for thinner cuts or thin fillets. For this pollo a la plancha recipe I used chicken breasts and did a simple butterfly cut by using a knife to cut the breasts horizontally and open them up like a butterfly. I then covered them with wax paper and gently pounded them to even them out. You can also buy already sliced thin chicken cutlets at most grocery stores, but they do tend to more expensive than just buying whole chicken breasts and cutting them on your own.
I made one of my favorite toppings, a rustic chunky avocado salsa, to serve on top of these garlicky citrus marinated grilled chicken breasts. Anything a la plancha or even anything grilled is a great match for an avocado side salad. I also served it with rice and black beans – cooked Ecuadorian menestra style.
You could also slice the grilled chicken breasts and use them as a taco filling. Another idea is to use them for sandwiches or Mexican style tortas. This chicken a la plancha would also make a great addition to your favorite salad, I would personally add it to my go to every day mixed garden salad.
This Latin style grilled chicken or pollo a la plancha is served with avocado salsa. The chicken breasts are marinated with a mix of orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, oregano, oil, salt/pepper.
- 2 small oranges, juiced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbs oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tbs olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts (4 breasts), cut butterfly style and lightly pounded until thin or you can also buy thinly sliced chicken cutlets
- 1-2 limes, cut in halves or quarters
- Freshly chopped cilantro
- 1 ripe but firm avocado, cut in slices or diced
- ½ small red onion, sliced or diced
- 1 red Fresno chili pepper or your choice of hot pepper, seeded and deveined, finely diced – adjust to taste, can also use mini sweet peppers for a non-spicy option
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 tbs finely chopped cilantro
- Salt to taste
- To prepare the chicken marinade combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken breasts and let marinate for at least an hour, overnight is ideal, you can marinate the meat in a glass/ceramic container or you can also place them in a resealable bag (and then place the bag in a container to avoid any leaks.
- To butterfly the chicken breasts, use a sharp knife to made horizontal cuts on the inner half of each chicken breast, then open it like a book or butter fly. On the same cutting board, cover the butterflied breasts with a piece of wax paper and gently pound the breasts with a meat mallet or your choice of heavy object to help tenderize and thin out the meat.
- For the avocado salsa, rinse the red onion slices or diced pieces in cold water with a sprinkle of salt – this will help remove their bite. The mix all the ingredients – diced avocado, diced red chili pepper, onions, lime juice, cilantro, oil, and salt to taste – in a bowl. You can prepare the avocado salsa right before cooking the chicken or a few hours before – it can be refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Heat the plancha, grill, griddle or pan that you will be using to a high temperature. You can lightly grease with a drizzle of oil it if it’s prone to sticking.
- Grill the chicken breast fillets for about 5 minutes on each side or until fully cooked – the exact time will vary based on the thickness of the chicken filets as well as the temperature of the griddle.
- Remove the chicken from the griddle, drizzle with lime juice and sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro.
- Serve immediate with chunky avocado salsa on the top or on the side, and your choice of additional side dishes.
If you want to use the leftover marinade you can put it in a small pan and bring it to a boil, let it reduce by half, then add some sliced red onions and continue cooking until they are tender. You can use this mojo style sauce as an additional topping sauce for grilled chicken or as an alternative to the avocado salsa.