Complex dishes can be great, but I think the best food experiences are found in simple recipes. Tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella and balsamic reduction are the hallmarks of many of my first summers in the restaurant industry. Caprese salad is a simple and delicious topping for this marinated and grilled chicken and a drizzle of balsamic reduction sauce brings the dish together with all the great tastes of a summer garden. You can serve this with noodles, salad or even grilled vegetables. The fat slab of cheese on the top makes this dish an indulgent treat while keeping things on the lighter side. You can grill the chicken as we have chosen or cook it on the stove top with a bit of oil. You can’t go wrong with this easy summer recipe. Even the kids will be able to enjoy this one!
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 pints of grape tomatoes, sliced in half vertically
- 15 basil leaves, finely chopped
- 3 large slices of fresh mozzarella (enough to cover the chicken). You can use the shredded kind as well, but it won’t be quite as indulgent.
- Balsamic reduction sauce (recipe below)
- ¼ cup Italian dressing of choice
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (2 tablespoons divided if you are cooking the chicken on the stove)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Using a gallon sized plastic zip bag, pour the Italian dressing in and place the chicken breasts. Make sure to distribute the dressing over all the breasts and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.
At this point you can either grill the chicken or cook it on the stove top. To cook on the stove, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet and cook the breasts fully on medium heat. If cooking on the grill, grill the chicken until it is fully cooked. Both methods should have a read out of 165 degrees with a meat thermometer.
While the chicken is cooking, add 1 tablespoon of oil to another skillet. Over medium heat add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Then add the tomatoes and cook until the skins start to wilt and prune as pictured.
Add the basil and then remove the mixture from the heat.
In a clean skillet (or the skillet used to cook the chicken) add the chicken and top them with the sliced or shredded mozzarella. Then top each breast with the tomato mixture, evenly distributing all of it over the breasts. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese starts to melt.
Remove from pan and serve hot. I suggest serving this over buttered noodles or a lightly dressed (with the Italian dressing) salad. Enjoy!
Balsamic Reduction Sauce:
- 2 cups of balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup of brown sugar
In a small sauce pan, combine the ingredients and mix well.
Cook over medium heat, stirring often. Make sure the sugar dissolves.
Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Check after 15 minutes.
It should have reduced by about half. If it hasn’t reduced enough, check again every five minutes until desired consistency is reached.
Remove from heat and transfer to a heat safe bowl. Cool completely before using. Store in the fridge but remove it half an hour before use.
What did you think of this recipe? What are your favorite summer meals? Feel free to comment or ask questions in the comments!