One of our favorite things to eat late summer is Caprese Salad. A simple stack of sliced fresh ripened tomatoes, a thick slice of mozzarella cheese, homegrown basil and a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil makes for the perfect light lunch or side to dinner.
Lately, Whole Foods has had some of the most beautiful heirloom tomatoes. I can’t stop buying them. One night I decided to turn our favorite side dish into a masterful dinner—Caprese Chicken!
I’m always looking for new adventures in chicken, as it is a staple in our house. Why not marry the flavors and ingredients of a Caprese Salad with a protein packed breaded chicken breast? Tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil and chicken? Delicious.
This is a really great weeknight meal that will most likely be put on regular rotation in our house. I’m craving it as I write this. Make it this week—with the last of summer’s amazing tomatoes.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Italian salad dressing
1/2 lb spaghetti
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup of flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs seasoned with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, minced
1/4 cup white wine (a dry Sherry works well)
1 cup grape tomatoes (each sliced in half)
1 heirloom tomato, sliced thick
4 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
4 leaves chiffonade basil
Pound chicken breasts just a bit then place chicken breasts and Italian salad dressing into a resealable plastic bag, knead bag several times to coat chicken with marinade, and squeeze air from the bag. Seal and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 and start to boil a pot of water for pasta. In a large skillet, heat canola oil until a small droplet of water pops in the oil (about 350 degrees). Remove chicken breasts from marinade and discard used marinade. Dredge chicken in flour, dip in egg, then coat in the breadcrumbs and add each breast to pan of hot oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Transfer chicken to a baking dish and put in the oven to bake until chicken is no longer pink inside and the juices run clear, about 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, add spaghetti to boiling water and cook al dente to package instructions. Pour off excess oil from skillet chicken was fried in, leaving just enough to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add garlic and onion to skillet and sauté on a medium heat until onion is translucent (being carful not to burn the garlic). Deglaze pan with wine, scraping up all brown bits. Add grape tomatoes and let simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
Move cherry tomato/onion/garlic mixture to the side of the skillet and add the sliced tomatoes and let cook for 1 minute flipping once (this will be to place on top of the chicken).
Take the chicken out of the oven, top each breast with a couple slices of mozzarella and cooked sliced tomatoes. Return to oven just long enough to let the cheese melt.
Toss pasta in the tomato/onion/garlic mixture; add 1/2 c reserved pasta water.
Remove chicken from oven. Plate pasta, laying chicken breast on top. Garnish entire dish with chiffonade basil, salt and pepper.