Introduction: The Caprese salad, with its vibrant combination of fresh tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, aromatic basil, and a drizzle of olive oil, has been a beloved Italian classic for generations. Today, we’re taking those iconic flavors and elevating them to a new level with our Simple Caprese Chicken Skillet recipe. This dish not only celebrates the essence of a Caprese salad but also adds tender chicken breasts and a balsamic reduction for a mouthwatering experience. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a special occasion, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your kitchen.
Historical Context: The Caprese salad originated on the picturesque island of Capri, Italy. Its colors—red, white, and green—are said to symbolize the Italian flag. Traditionally, it’s made with just tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Over time, this simple dish has inspired countless variations, including the Caprese Chicken Skillet we’re about to create.
1. Season and Sear the Chicken:
- Begin by seasoning both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken breasts.
- Sear the chicken for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until it’s golden brown and cooked through. Use tongs to flip the chicken.
2. Add Cherry Tomatoes:
- Push the seared chicken to one side of the skillet, and add the halved cherry tomatoes to the other side.
- Cook the tomatoes for about 3-4 minutes, allowing them to soften and release their juices. Stir occasionally.
3. Arrange Mozzarella and Basil:
- Once the tomatoes are slightly softened, place slices of fresh mozzarella over the chicken breasts.
- Sprinkle torn fresh basil leaves on top of the mozzarella.
4. Create the Balsamic Reduction:
- In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes if you desire a bit of heat.
- Pour this mixture over the chicken, mozzarella, and basil in the skillet.
5. Simmer and Serve:
- Reduce the heat to low and cover the skillet. Let it simmer for about 3-4 minutes or until the mozzarella is melted and the chicken is heated through.
- Check the chicken’s internal temperature; it should reach 165°F (74°C) to ensure it’s fully cooked.
- Once done, garnish with fresh basil leaves.
- Serve your Simple Caprese Chicken Skillet hot, drizzling any remaining balsamic reduction from the skillet over the top.
Conclusion: This Simple Caprese Chicken Skillet recipe beautifully marries the timeless flavors of a Caprese salad with tender, juicy chicken. The balsamic reduction adds a delightful sweet-tangy note that complements the dish perfectly. Whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight dinner or a dish to impress guests, this recipe will undoubtedly become a go-to favorite. Buon appetito!