Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Caprese Chicken

It’s snowing!!! We actually had our first snow of the season on Sunday, but it was just a dusting.  It was nothing compared to the accumulation seen in other areas of the northeast.  Did anyone see the near-blizzard at the Eagles game? As a Redskins fan, I do not typically watch Eagles games, but NFL RedZone kept switching to their game because of the weather! It was crazy – I don’t know how the players were able to see the ball, let alone make any progress down the field! Anyway… I digress! It’s snowing in New Jersey again today and, even though I’m at work, I get a little giddy reminiscing about the snow days of my childhood… sledding down the driveway, building snowmen, climbing all over the piles of snow my dad so diligently work to clear from the driveway.  Luckily, I think KK has a soup planned for dinner tonight; it’ll be the perfect end to this snowy day.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this caprese chicken dish that I threw together for dinner a few weeks ago (I’m incredibly far behind with posts!).

One word about this meal – delicious! Not only was it packed full of flavor, but it also came together incredibly quickly! I recommend halving the tomatoes before starting the chicken because the tomatoes need almost the same amount of cook time as the chicken.  Since, as you know, we don’t usually have fresh herbs on hand, I substituted The Novice Chef’s fresh basil for the dried variety, and thought it tasted just fine (proven by the fact that there were no leftovers).  Admittedly, we usually use a cheapo brand of balsamic vinegar, but the original recipe recommended using a higher quality one, so I busted out the good stuff, which is visibly thicker than the lower quality balsamics.  My parents stumbled upon Salumeria Italian in Boston’s North End several years ago, and got me hooked on Rubio Aged balsamic vinegar.  If you’re ever in Boston, check out their store, or just order their exclusive balsamic vinegar online! Treating ourselves with some wine, we uncorked a bottle of Arger-Martucci 2006 Odyssey Estate Reserve Red.  This blend was 35% Cab Sav, 32% Merlot, 28% Cab Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot.  I liked this wine more than KK, probably because he hasn’t had too many good Cab Savs because they take so long to age!

Caprese Chicken
Adapted from The Novice Chef
Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

1 lb chicken breasts
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
1 tsp dried basil
Pinch dried oregano
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced into ½-in thick pieces
Balsamic vinegar, to taste

1. Butterfly chicken breasts into 4-6 pieces, depending on the size of original breasts; season both sides with salt and pepper.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high in a large skillet.  Add chicken, cover and cook for 7-8 minutes, flipping half way through. 

3. In a separate skillet, warm remaining olive oil over medium-high heat.  Sauté garlic for 1 minute, or until fragrant.  Add tomatoes and herbs; stir frequently, sautéing until tomatoes skin begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

4. Once chicken is cooked through, top each chicken piece with mozzarella slices.  Cover chicken with tomato mixture, cover pan and let mozzarella melt, about 1-2 minutes.

5. Plate chicken and a healthy scoop of tomatoes, then drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Serve immediately.

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