Recently Hubby, Kiddo and I spent the morning at an Air Show in a nearby small town. This wasn’t one of those big Air Shows. It was small, just as the town was small. Yet it was a fun way to spend the morning together, checking out the restored vintage planes. There were a number of WWII fighter planes and some from the Korean War. Hubby and Kiddo enjoyed the beautifully restored planes. I enjoyed watching the old men who had put on whatever they could from their days of service (mainly caps). They walked among the planes, sometimes teary-eyed and spoke to one another is emotional tones, remembering their youth. Although these men were strangers, not old war-time buddies, there were bonds between them that civilians could not begin to comprehend. It was beautiful.
Normally, Hubby and I do the grocery shopping on Saturday mornings. However; this particular Saturday we chose to attend the Air Show, with a trip to the market on the way home. While Kiddo was all for the Air Show, he was not all that thrilled about spending an hour or so at the market. The only time Kiddo gets excited about shopping is when we are in the produce, gourmet or deli sections of the market (especially the cheese section). Most of the time, our neighborhood market carries blocks of mozzarella, not the nice, big rounds of soft, fresh mozzarella. Kiddo loves the good stuff. Naturally, we had to put the cheese to good use. I had considered a colorful Caprese Salad. And then I remembered a recipe I had tucked away for Chicken Breast topped with a Caprese-style slices of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Mamma Mia, this is good stuff!
Caprese Chicken Breasts
4 skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
10 large basil leaves
4 small “buds” of basil leaves (for garnish)
8 oz fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced in 1/2 inch 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.