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Caprese Chicken—Delicious Enough for Company. Easy Enough for a Weeknight Feast.




Yield: 2

Author: Carol Ann Kates


Caprese refers to a salad made of juicy tomatoes, sliced fresh mozzarella, and fragrant basil, drizzled with olive oil or balsamic vinegar or both. Delicious! On menus today we will find Caprese salads, sandwiches, and chicken, just to name a few. These dishes will contain the three ingredients in Caprese salads.


Caprese get its name from the island of Capri, where food historians believe it originated. Have you been to Capri? We visited it once. Fascinating. Some believe its origin pays homage to the Italian flag—with its colors of red, white, and green. Others believe it was created in the 20th century to please vacationing royalty and important politicos. I guess we don’t care why or how it was created. We just love eating Caprese in our house.


My family loves it when I make Caprese Chicken. It is fancy enough for company yet perfect for adding some pizzaz to weeknight meals. It is bursting with flavor—creamy mozzarella cheese, balsamic glaze, and spicy basil. Caprese Chicken is easy enough for beginner cooks to master and can be prepared in about 30 minutes. Serve it with a green salad and crusty bread or your favorite Italian side. This recipe is for two people. If you are preparing it for four, double all the ingredients.


INGREDIENTS

Caprese Chicken:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 tablespoon + ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar, divided

  • ½ teaspoon dried basil leaves

  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon large grind black pepper

  • Fresh basil leaves

  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese, cut ¼-inch thick

  • 1 to 2 Roma tomatoes, cut ¼-inch thick

  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • Cherry tomatoes


INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • In a small bowl, place mustard, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, dried basil, dried thyme, salt, and pepper and whisk to blend.

  • Using a sharp knife, cut a horizontal pocket into each breast, being careful not to cut all the way through. Brush the chicken both inside and out with the balsamic mixture.

  • Place breasts on a cutting board and open. Layer each breast with basil leaves, mozzarella cheese slices, and tomato slices. Secure each breast with toothpicks.

  • In a small bowl, combine garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar and whisk to blend.

  • In an ovenproof skillet, place 1 tablespoon olive oil over a high heat. Add chicken and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until golden.

  • After you have sautéed the second side, add the garlic/balsamic mixture to the pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken, about 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon glaze over top of chicken breasts. Add desired amount of cherry tomatoes to skillet. I add 3 to 4 per person.

  • Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, cherry tomatoes have blistered, and cheese has melted slightly. Remove toothpicks and serve.


Shopping Tips:

  • Tips on shopping for tomatoes: Select firm and plump tomatoes that feel heavy for their size. Do not buy pale, spotted, or mushy specimens. Avoid tomatoes with blemishes or cracks. Color is the best indicator of quality. Pick brightly colored tomatoes. My father taught me to shop with my nose. Smell the stem end of the tomato. If it’s ripe, it will smell like a tomato. Ripe tomatoes should give slightly when pressed but not feel rock hard.

  • Tips on storing tomatoes: Tomatoes must be treated gently. Place only ripened tomatoes in the refrigerator. Cool temperatures slow the ripening process. To ripen, place tomatoes at room temperature stem side down. To hasten the ripening process, place tomatoes in a paper bag and keep at room temperature.

  • Tips on shopping for basil: A member of the mint family, the taste of basil is a cross between licorice and cloves. Although it is a summer herb, it is available year-round in supermarkets in both a fresh and dried form. When buying fresh basil, choose evenly colored leaves that show no sign of wilting or yellowing. To store, wrap the leaves in damp paper towels, place in a reusable, eco-friendly produce storage bag or a plastic bag, and refrigerate.


~Carol Ann


Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at CarolAnn@CarolAnnKates.com and explore her website, www.CarolAnnKates.com.


Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates

 


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