Anyone in the Mid-Atlantic states knows what I mean when I say that we are having the most amazing summer weather this month. Blue skies, temps in the high 70s to low 80s, and no humidity. This weather reminds me of San Diego where the weather is always perfect.
This weather has a lot of influence on how I eat, too.. it makes me crave fresh, light flavors. So I used that as my inspiration for Saturday's dinner along with some ingredients I had in the house - boneless chicken breasts, plum tomatoes, fresh basil, and a ball of fresh mozzarella.
Last summer I made a dish that I called Chicken Caprese, a dish of flour dredged and pan seared chicken topped with fresh tomatoes and cold mozzarella and basil. Those flavors are so refreshing to me, but I wanted to change it up a bit by making the chicken crispier and melting the cheese a bit.
A few major differences in the way I cooked it this time -
- I breaded the chicken and fried it instead of just dredging it in flour. My breading method is flour, egg, flour, egg, and then breadcrumbs. This double-dipping method gives it a thicker coating.
- I flash-cooked the tomatoes in the tomato-wine mixture I had simmering for the pasta before putting them on the chicken
- I put the cooked tomatoes and fresh mozzarella on the chicken and then put the dish under the broiler to melt and heat everything instead of serving it caprese style, or cold.
Below is my recipe.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Olive oil
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp breadcrumbs mixed with a touch of salt, pepper, and garlic powder
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 4 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 4 leaves chiffonaded basil
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 c white wine
- 1/2 lb cooked spaghetti - I like using a thin pasta like vermicelli, angel hair, or capellini for this dish
- 1/2 c reserved cooking liquid from the pasta
- Pound chicken just a bit, then coat it with some olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic powder. I then put it in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350; also start to boil a pot of water for the pasta.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan
- Dredge chicken in flour, dip in egg, repeat to double dip it. Then coat chicken in the breadcrumbs and add to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Transfer chicken to a baking dish and put in the oven (no more than 10 min in the oven)
- At this point your water should be boiling so you can cook the pasta.
- Add 1/2 tbsp olive oil to the pan.
- Add garlic, saute 1 min
- Deglaze pan with wine, scraping up all brown bits.
- Add chopped tomatoes and let simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
- Move the chopped tomatoes to the side and add the sliced tomatoes and let cook for 1 min. This is so you aren't putting raw tomatoes on top of the chicken.
- Take the chicken out of the oven, top with the sliced tomatoes, a few slices of mozzarella, half of the basil, and a touch of freshly ground black pepper (pepper is optional). Return to the oven on broil for 2 minutes.
- Add reserved cooking liquid from the pasta to the tomato/garlic/wine mixture. Let simmer.
- Toss pasta in the tomato/garlic/wine mixture. You could also mix in some mini mozzarella balls or tiny pieces of mozzarella at this point.
- Serve chicken over the pasta.
Look how the fresh mozzarella started to melt... mmm!
Jon prefers pork and beef over chicken, but he's always a good sport when I make chicken for him. And he has to admit that I always try to make it interesting and full of flavor! No bland chicken in our house! Well, even HE said "wow, this chicken is really good!" That is huge coming from him.
I also loved it. The chicken had so much flavor from sitting with the oil, garlic, and oregano for a few hours. The tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella on top of the chicken tasted just like summer - light and fresh.
So which recipe wins - my original or this one? We both have to say this one for a few reasons. The chicken had so much flavor, we liked the crunch from the breading, and slightly melting the mozzarella was the perfect topping.