Somewhere along the way, someone applied Caprese Salad’s ingredients to chicken and created a wonderful main dish.
I don’t know who adapted the classic Italian salad, but I love the result. It’s easy and so quick to make, very colorful, with lots of flavor.
I first enjoyed Caprese Chicken five years ago. I remember it distinctly, because I got caught in New York City and Connecticut as Hurricane Sandy barreled up the East Coast. On the last day of my stay in the city, my cousin and his wife drove in to have brunch with me. But, as the forecast for Sandy grew more severe, Amtrak cancelled my train home. Luckily, Hank and Nance invited me to ride out the storm with them in Stamford.
My first evening there, Nance just whipped up this dish in what seemed only minutes. She described it as one of their favorites and just happened to have all the ingredients on hand. “It’s easy peasy,” she said.
While I’ve adapted her recipe using shredded mozzarella, more for ease, budget and what I had on hand, Nance uses slices of fresh mozzarella, a much better choice.
This dish goes well with pasta, polenta or rice and a green salad. Enjoy!
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons fresh basil, shredded
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
Slice the chicken breasts crosswise in half, then season with salt, pepper and oregano. Heat the oil in large skillet over medium temperature and cook the chicken until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Once the chicken has browned nicely, transfer it to a plate and set aside.
Add the vinegar to the skillet to deglaze it and then add the tomatoes and garlic. Simmer until the tomatoes are soft — another 5 minutes. Season tomatoes with salt to taste and stir in the basil. Return the chicken to the skillet, pushing the tomatoes aside. Top each piece with cheese and cover to allow it to melt.
When the cheese has melted, transfer the chicken to a serving dish and spoon the tomatoes over the chicken. Decorate the platter with leftover basil leaves.
Make it ahead
The dressing can be made up to one week in advance, but bring it to room temperature before serving.