We now find ourselves in that time of year when there is still halfway decent citrus to be had and there are evenings when it is not completely unreasonable to fire up the grill. We broke out our trusty Weber kettle last week for the Professor’s annual ceramic’s barbecue. 40° was probably a little too chilly but that first braut off the grill was mighty tasty.
These fajitas do a nice job of bridging that seasonal gap. They are marinated in all the bright, cheery flavors of winter’s last citrus and then cooked on the grill (preferably outdoors) for a smoky finish. If you can give the chicken and vegetables at least a few good hours of marinating time, it will really make all the difference. The orange, lemon, and lime juice flavors will increase exponentially as it sits, leaving the meat tender, juicy, and incredibly flavorful. I used chicken breasts because they are healthy and quick to cook, but this marinade would be delicious on thick, meaty fish fillets, pork tenderloin, or even shrimp.
As for what to put on top, the sky’s the limit. Avocado slices? Sure. Guacamole? Even better. Sour cream, salsa, sliced jalapeños, and radishes? If you want. I liked my fajitas light and fresh with just a sprig or two of cilantro and a dousing of fresh lime juice but you can top away to your heart’s content.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons chile powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 4 bell peppers (any color, but a variety of colors works best), cored, seeded, and quartered
- 1 red onion, peeled and sliced into rings
- Warm corn tortillas
- lime wedges
- cilantro sprigs
- Combine oil, juices, chile powder, salt, zests, and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth.
- Pour half the marinade into a separate medium bowl. Add the chicken to one bowl and the peppers and onions to the other.
- Toss both to coat then cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
- Heat a ridged grill pan, cast iron skillet, or outdoor grill to medium heat. When hot place the vegetables in a single layer (you may need to do this in batches) and cook until starting to soften and char, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove them to a plate, cover and keep warm. Repeat with remaining vegetables.
- Cook the chicken in a single layer until cooked all the way through, about 8-10 minutes per side.
- Slice the vegetables and meat in strips and serve with the tortillas, lime wedges, and cilantro.