Last week, I went to Bahama Breeze with a friend because I found out they had piña coladas for $5 and half priced apps at happy hour—which, according to experts, is a great way to spend a weeknight. Need I say more? It reminded me of a trip I took a few months ago to Turks and Caicos. (Alright, a restaurant with a view of the mall parking lot and pre-recorded reggae music might not be too tropical, but it’s as close as you’ll get to palm trees and steel drums in New Jersey.)
It occurred to me that it is possible to escape to an island at home—at least for dinner. I’ve been to the Caribbean five times, and two things I distinctly remember noticing on menus are coconut shrimp and mango salsa. Since I recently posted a shrimp appetizer, I didn’t have the need for another shrimp dish quite so soon. Instead, I decided to mix things up with a coconut chicken recipe and top it off with homemade mango salsa. To be honest, I had no idea what went into mango salsa…other than mangoes. I browsed good ol’ Pinterest and realized that it’s literally tomato salsa, but with mangoes (the more you know, right?).
For this recipe, I recommend using mangoes that are ripe, but not so ripe that they’re super soft. It’s easier to chop up the mango when it’s firm enough to hold and juice isn’t running all over the cutting board. Also, this recipe only calls for a small amount of jalapeno to keep the spice mild; feel free to adjust accordingly (or completely cut the jalapeño out, if spice isn’t your thing).
splash of milk
1 cup panko bread crumbs, seasoned with salt & pepper
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
4 thin chicken breasts
1 mango, cubed
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
Squeeze of lime juice
Salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, add eggs with a splash of milk and beat to create an egg wash. In another bowl, combine seasoned panko and coconut flakes. Dip chicken in egg wash, then in coconut panko, then place on an aluminum-foil-covered baking sheet (spray aluminum foil with cooking spray). Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and internal temperature is 165 Fahrenheit.
In a medium bowl, combine mango, tomato, cilantro, garlic, lime juice and salt & pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use. When chicken is cooked, remove from oven, plate and top with mango salsa. Serve immediately.