YIELD: 12 servings
3 lbs. tomatillos, peeled and cored
1 lb. onions, quartered
7 oz. (about 6) jalapeño peppers, seeded
½ oz. (about 1/3 cup) chopped fresh cilantro
Olive or vegetable oil, as needed
Salt and ground black pepper, as needed
8 oz. fideos (dried angel-hair pasta)
1½ lbs. tomatoes, small dice
8 oz. onion, finely chopped
2 cups chicken broth
12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5 to 6 oz. ea.)
1 lb. ripe Mexican avocados, pitted, peeled and diced
4 oz. Gouda cheese, coarsely shredded
1. In a roasting pan, combine tomatillos, onion quarters and jalapeños; lightly coat with oil and roast at 450°F until tomatillos are browned and vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes.
2. Drain tomatillo mixture, reserving the juices, and transfer to a food-processor container. Process, adding reserved liquid as necessary to make a slightly chunky sauce. Add the cilantro, 3 Tbsps. oil, 1 Tbsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper; process until blended. Set aside.
3. Break fideos into large pieces. (Do not take nests apart). Over medium-high heat, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large ovenproof skillet. Saute fideos just until golden, about 1 minute. To skillet, add tomato, chopped onion, 1 Tbsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper and chicken broth; toss well. Cover skillet tightly; bake until pasta is tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
4. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat enough oil to cover the bottom. Add chicken and cook, turning once, until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Cut in thick slices.
5. For tomatillo-avocado salsa: Heat reserved tomatillo mixture until warm; stir in 1/3 of diced avocado.
6. At service: Stir Gouda cheese into hot fideos. In the center of 12 dinner plates, mound fideos, dividing equally. Fan chicken-breast slices around fideos. Spoon tomatillo-avocado salsa around chicken; scatter remaining diced avocado over salsa. Garnish with baby greens if desired.
Recipe and photo: Avocados from Mexico