Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Variation on My Chicken Caprese Recipe

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.

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Oregano
  • 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

Directions

  • 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.






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16 comments:

Katie said...

Yummy!!

Bridget said...

I know, right?! The weather has been so good lately. It's nice and warm, but then the almost-daily storms keep it from getting too hot. This is the perfect dish for that!

ashley-cita said...

That looks so delicious! And now I know what I'm making for dinner this week.

The Home Cook said...

Looks great!! I'm loving the weather. :)

Did you use fresh bread crumbs? I've been doing that lately and the difference is so amazing. I need to make this soon.

Mary Ellen said...

No, I always use storebought bread crumbs. I should try fresh. How do you make yours?

elly said...

This looks great. That gooey cheese looks SO delicious.

Kristen616 said...

Wow this looks fabulous and so fresh!

Ashley said...

This looks wonderful! What's not to love with that combo of ingredients? YUM!

Rachel said...

this looks so good. Do you use red or white wine??

Mary Ellen said...

Rachel - I use white wine.

Anonymous said...

Looks wonderful!

But, am I missing something here? Just 1 TB each of flour and bread crumbs to double coat 2 slightly flattened chicken breasts? Doesn't seem like that would be anywhere near enough.

Mary Ellen said...

Hi Anonymous (?), Yes, I had enough bread crumbs and flour. You don't want the chicken swimming in it, just coated.

Miri said...

I'm planning to make this for dinner this evening. It looks amazing! I have everything but the wine.

We don't drink alcohol but do occasionally cook with it) What type of "white" wine should I buy? For that matter, what should I have on hand when a recipe calls for "red" wine.

Mary Ellen said...

Miri - you can leave the wine out if you want. You could deglaze with chicken broth. Vermouth works too. If you use wine, pick up the little juice boxes they now make - they stay good in the fridge for a few weeks for cooking. I like chardonnay.

I rarely cook with red wine. Barolo is good but expensive. A cheap cab is probably your best bet, and you can get them in the juice boxes as well. Cabs reduce nicely for sauces on steaks - I have some recipes in this blog for red wine reductions.

Have you tried anything with marsala?

Hope this helps!!

Megan said...

Hello! I just wanted to let you know that I made this for supper last night for our anniversary and it was delicious! Thanks!

Mary Ellen said...

Hi Megan - thanks for commenting! I'm so glad you liked it. Happy Anniversary!