Tequila-marinated chicken.

Tequila-marinated chicken.

This dish, with its Mexican flavors, is a nod to Cinco de Mayo on May 5. The simple tequila marinade gives the chicken unique flavor, and the grilled onion topping — which can be used with fish and pork as well — adds a robust sweet and savory contrast.

This also gives me a chance to share a terrific grilling hack. We’ve all had the annoying experience of grilling sliced onion and having the rings come apart when you try to flip it over. Here’s an easy, effective solution: stick a toothpick all the way through the ring, horizontally, so the wood is barely exposed. The toothpick holds the onion together to make turning it over a no-brainer. As the onion cooks, it shrinks slightly, making it easy to pull the toothpick out.

Tequila Marinated Chicken with Grilled Onion Salsa

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves

3 tablespoons tequila

3 tablespoons lime juice, divided

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 large (12-ounce) Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut across into 1/2-inch slices

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 teaspoons sugar

1. Working one at a time, place a piece of the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap with the smooth side facing up. Use a meat pounder or the heel of your hand to press or pound the breast to an even ½-inch thickness. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and add the tequila, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, 1 tablespoon of the oil, brown sugar, garlic powder cumin; mix well. Refrigerate 20 minutes to an hour.

2. Coat the grill rack with cooking spray or lightly brush with oil and prepare the grill for direct medium heat cooking (350°F-450°F).

3. Brush the onion with 2 teaspoons of the oil and grill until they are tender and well-marked, 5-6 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and let cool 5 minutes; chop and transfer to a bowl. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon oil, jalapeño, cilantro, sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt; let stand at least 20 minutes.

4. Discard the chicken marinade and season the chicken with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Grill, turning once, until a thermometer inserted horizontally into the thickest portion of the meat registers 160°F, about 5 minutes per side. Serve with the grilled onion salsa.

Makes 4 servings