Light and refreshing, yet packed with flavour from herbs, jalapeños and garlic, this is an easy after-work meal that can be endlessly adapted to suit what you have on hand. Substitute other thinly sliced raw vegetables for the cucumbers (zucchini, carrot, radishes, celery, cabbage, fennel), and other herbs for the coriander and parsley (dill, basil, mint). Just be sure not to overcook the flattened chicken, which can happen in an instant.
Start to finish: 45 minutes, plus marinating
For the chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
2 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
FOR THE SAUCE:
1/3 cup packed fresh coriander leaves
1/3 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, more to taste
3 cucumbers, thinly sliced (about 2 1/4 cups)
Place a chicken breast between a layer of parchment paper or plastic wrap and use a mallet, rolling pin or the flat side of a heavy knife to pound to a thickness of about 1.5cm. Repeat with remaining breasts.
Season chicken with salt, pepper and paprika. Place in a bowl and toss with lime zest, garlic and oil. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: In a blender, combine coriander, parsley, oil, jalapeños, garlic, salt and lime juice. Blend until smooth, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons water if necessary to blend. Taste and add more salt and/or lime juice if needed.
Heat the grill to medium-high or heat up the broiler or a grill pan. Grill or broil until chicken is lightly browned at the edges and just cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side.
In a medium bowl, toss cucumbers with a pinch of salt. Let sit for 5 minutes. Right before serving, toss cucumbers with sauce and serve alongside chicken, drizzling chicken with any leftover sauce from the bottom of the cucumber bowl, and a little olive oil.