- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon mild honey
- 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
- 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup olive oil
- 6 chicken breast halves with skin and bones (3 lb total)
- 2 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
- 2 medium shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (1/2 cup)
- 8 oz mesclun, thinly sliced (6 cups)
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Prepare chicken and salad: Whisk together lime juice, honey, red pepper flakes, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and add oil in a slow stream, whisking.
Transfer chicken to a 1-gallon sealable plastic bag and add 1/3 cup lime vinaigrette, then seal bag. Marinate chicken at room temperature 15 minutes.
Transfer another 1/3 cup lime vinaigrette to a bowl, stir in tomatoes and shallots, and marinate until chicken is finished cooking. Transfer another 1/3 cup lime vinaigrette to a large bowl and set aside for cooked chicken. Put remaining lime vinaigrette in a small airtight container and reserve for lettuce wraps (recipe follows).
Remove chicken from bag, discarding marinade, and sprinkle all over with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
To cook chicken using a charcoal grill: Open vents on bottom of grill and on lid. Light a large chimney starter of charcoal briquettes (80 to 100) and pour them evenly over 1 side of bottom rack (you will have a double or triple layer of briquettes).
When charcoal turns grayish white (after 15 to 20 minutes) and you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 3 to 4 seconds, sear chicken breasts, starting with skin sides down, on a lightly oiled rack over coals, uncovered, turning once, until well browned, 5 to 6 minutes total.
Move browned chicken breasts to side of grill with no coals and cook, covered with lid, turning over occasionally, until just cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes more.
To cook chicken using a gas grill: Preheat all burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, then adjust heat to moderately high.
Sear chicken on lightly oiled grill rack, covered with lid, turning frequently, until well browned, about 6 minutes total.
Turn off 1 burner (middle burner if there are 3) and arrange all seared chicken on rack above shut-off burner. Cook seared chicken, covered with lid, turning over once, until just cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.
Toss grilled chicken with lime vinaigrette: Transfer hot grilled chicken to large bowl with lime vinaigrette and turn to coat. Leave in bowl 5 minutes, then transfer to a platter and loosely cover with foil.
Assemble salad: Toss together mesclun, basil, tomato mixture, and salt to taste. Drizzle some lime vinaigrette from bowl over chicken and serve with mesclun salad.
Cooks' notes: If you aren't able to grill outdoors, chicken can be roasted, skin sides up, in an oiled foil-lined large shallow baking pan in middle of a preheated 500°F oven until skin is crisp and chicken is cooked through, 25 to 35 minutes total.
Makes 6 main-course servings.