Recipe: Caprese Chicken

(Image credit: Maria Midoes)

This is the part of summer we’ve all been waiting for — when the best tomatoes of the season take over the tables at the market. Of course you’ll want to get your fill or them eaten as is. Along with creamy mozzarella and fresh basil, these tomatoes are the simplest way to perk up that weeknight chicken breast.

Give the Chicken a Good Sear

There are more than a few ways to cook chicken breast, but this method is hands-down my favorite. It starts with well-seasoned pieces of chicken and a wickedly hot pan. The heat doesn’t have to be cranked up high as can be, but do give that pan plenty of time to get hot.

Once added to the pan, the chicken breasts are seared on both sides. Don’t rush this step. This is the step that will make your dinner stand out. Let the chicken cook, undisturbed, until it develops a deep brown crust, then flip it over and give it the same treatment on the other side.

The mozzarella is added at the end and broiled until browned and bubbly. Top the chicken with tomatoes, basil, and balsamic before serving.

Caprese Chicken

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 4 slices
1 medium tomato, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
8 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic glaze

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F.

Pat the chicken breasts completely dry with paper towels. Season both sides of the chicken with the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large cast iron or oven-safe frying pan over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the chicken to the pan and sear undisturbed until well-browned on the bottom, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip the chicken and sear until the other side is browned, 5 to 7 minutes more.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the chicken is cooked through and registers an internal temperature of 165°F, 5 to 8 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the oven and turn on the broiler. Top each chicken breast with a slice of mozzarella. Return the skillet to the oven and broil until the mozzarella is completely melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Top the chicken with the tomato slices, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage. Leftover chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.