"Grilling" the tortillas for several seconds on each side directly on a stove burner set to medium heat gives them a bit of a pleasant char. These fajitas will be juicy, so it is best to strain the slaw and the optional salsa fresca; use a good-quality store-bought salsa fresca.
Salmon or tuna would also be wonderful on these fajitas. The chicken and slaw can be made a day ahead. The chicken can be used at room temperature or slightly reheated.
- For the chicken
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 tablespoon light olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, such as Trader Joe's brand
- 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
- For the slaw
- 1/2 pound prepared slaw mix (cabbage and carrots)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon finely minced jalapeño pepper (not jarred)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- For the fajitas
- 8 to 12 5 1/2-inch corn tortillas
- 1 avocado, flesh only, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- Salsa fresca (optional)
- Chipotle-flavored hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco brand (optional)
For the chicken: Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and let rest on the counter to bring the chicken to room temperature (no more than 30 minutes).
Heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat until it is very hot. Place the chicken pieces, top side down, in the skillet and let them blacken for 2 minutes. Turn them over, reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook the chicken for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it registers 165 degrees on a meat thermometer. Remove the skillet from the heat, cover still on, and let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Strain the pan drippings into a cup, discarding the fat. When the chicken has cooled, slice it into 1/2-inch strips, place them in a bowl and pour the drippings over them. Cover and set aside.
For the slaw: Combine the ingredients in a large resealable plastic food storage bag. Toss to combine them well and refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble: "Grill" each tortilla over a medium flame for a few seconds on each side. Place each one on a dinner plate. Line a quarter of the chicken slices a third of the way down from the side of the tortilla. Top with avocado slices; 1/4 cup of slaw; a spoonful of salsa, if desired; and a few drops of chipotle-flavored hot pepper sauce, if desired. Roll the tortillas up and serve.
From Chef on Call columnist and former restaurateur David Hagedorn.
Tested by Aimee Sanders.
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