Two years ago, Hubby, Kiddo and I spent a Saturday morning attending an Air Show is a nearby small town. This wasn’t one of those big Air Shows. It was small, just as the town hosting the show was small. Yet it was a fun way to spend the morning together. There were restored vintage planes and old classic cars to check out. A number of the planes were fighter planes, most from WWII and some from the Korean War. While Hubby and Kiddo enjoyed the beautifully restored cars and planes, I enjoyed people watching. The crowd consisted mainly of old-time veterans who had put whatever they could find from their days of service (mainly caps) as a way of identifying themselves. They walked among the planes, sometimes teary-eyed and spoke to one another in emotional tones, fondly recalling their reckless youth. Although these men were strangers and not old war-time buddies, there were bonds between them that civilians could not begin to comprehend. It was beautiful to watch.
On that Saturday, as we wandered through the cheese section, Kiddo and I spied Mozzarella cheese and got excited. Most of the Mozzarella offered at our neighborhood market is the stuff in the blocks or in bags of shredded cheese. This was the good stuff – rounds of soft, fresh mozzarella. Kiddo is a kid after my own heart – a big fan of the good stuff. Naturally, we just had to put that tub of imported cheese in the shopping cart.
On the ride home, Kiddo and I talked about what we could make with our prized find – good cheese. We had considered a colorful Caprese Salad. After all, it’s a natural choice. Then I remembered a recipe I had tucked away for Chicken Breast topped with a Caprese-style assortment of tomatoes, basil and Mozzarella cheese. All I can say is Mamma Mia, this is the good stuff!
Colorful Caprese Chicken with a Balsamic Glaze
Caprese Chicken Breasts
4 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skins removed
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 pints Cherry Tomatoes, halved
10 Large Basil Leaves
4 Small basil “Buds” for garnish
8 oz Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds
Balsamic Glaze (recipe below)
Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts and set aside.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken, cover pan, and cook breast until golden, about 10 minutes. Turn chicken breasts over and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked thoroughly (or has reached an internal temp of 165 degrees).
While chicken is cooking, in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
Add tomatoes and continue sautéing until tomatoes skin starts to soften/wrinkle, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in basil. Set aside.
Once chicken has cooked through, top each chicken breast with 2 slices of mozzarella. Spoon tomato mixture over chicken.
Cover pan with lid once more and let the mozzarella melt, about 1-2 minutes.
To finish the dish, drizzle plates with a nice swirl of balsamic glaze. Top swirl with a breast. Place a few basil leaves on top for added color.
Serve chicken with a basket of warm Italian or French bread and enjoy.
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
Mix balsamic vinegar with brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until glaze is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Glaze should coat the back of a spoon.
Let cool and pour into a jar with a lid; store in refrigerator.
Glaze will keep in refrigerator for several weeks. It’s great brushed on burgers, grilled chicken or drizzled over vegetables. Anytime you could use a splash of balsamic vinegar, you could use the glaze for a more intense flavor.