The Wooden Spoon: Chicken Caprese

(Always read the recipe twice, assemble, and prepare your ingredients before you begin to cook)

4 chicken breast cutlets (about 1 ¼ lb.)  – if you prefer to buy chicken breast halves (because of price!) be sure to slice them into thinner cutlets for quick and easy cooking
Flour (as needed – start with a 1/2 cup)
3 to 5 tbsp. olive oil
1 ¼ lb. chopped tomatoes (I prefer grape or cherry tomatoes as they have less seeds than the larger varieties)
3 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
½ tsp. Kosher salt
8 oz. small fresh mozzarella balls, halved
Fresh basil – chop or chiffonade (see note below)

You’ll need a large frying pan

  • Starting with 3 tbsp. oil in a frying pan, heat on medium heat
  • While the pan heats, place about ½ cup of all purpose flour into a small bowl (something with sides so the flour isn’t all over the place!)
  • Lightly flour each chicken cutlet, shake off excess
  • Add more flour to your pan or bowl later if you need it
  • Cook each cutlet in the oil for a total of about 6 minutes (depends on how thick your cutlets are), turning only once until cooked through
  • As you cook, if you need more oil, add a little more to the pan
  • Transfer cutlets to a plate as you finish cooking them – keep warm by covering with aluminum foil or place them in a warm oven (make sure the plate is heat resistant)
  • When all cutlets are done and on the plate, add the tomatoes, garlic, and salt to the frying pan
  • With a wooden spoon or heat resistant rubber spatula, cook about 3 minutes, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan – try not to crush the tomatoes as you want to keep them as intact as you can
  • Uncover your plate of cooked chicken and/or carefully remove it from the warm oven
  • Top the chicken cutlets with the tomato sauce you just made
  • Add the mozzarella and the basil on top of the sauce
  • Serve immediately
  • Generously serves 4
  • Serving suggestion: Broccoli and potato of your choice

Notes:

  • Perhaps you’ve heard of a Caprese Salad.   It is a simple Italian salad made of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil and seasoned with salt and olive oil.  The ingredients resemble the colors of the Italian flag – red, white, and green and it is served as an antipasto or appetizer.  In this recipe, the same ingredients are used, but they are used to make a delightful sauce.
  • Chiffonade means “little ribbons” in French. It is a chopping technique in which herbs such as basil are cut into long, thin strips.  For this nice effect, just stack the basil leaves, roll them tightly, and then thinly slice the leaves perpendicular to the roll into strips.
  • Remember tsp. means teaspoon and tbsp. means tablespoon.  Always use measuring spoons not your cutlery.

If you’d like to be a guest contributor to The Jefferson Chronicle’s Wooden Spoon, please email your recipe clearly noting all ingredients, measurements, and understandable directions to Carol.Punturieri@thejeffersonchronicle.com and type “The Wooden Spoon” in the Subject line.  Be sure to include your name, address, and a telephone number in the event we need to clarify any information.

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Carol was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Jefferson Township with her husband in 1976. She initially joined the Garden Club of Milton, eventually serving as President. She was a co-founder of the ABC Mothers Group, active in the local PTAs, Girl Scouts, and Cub Scouts. She worked for AIM Newspapers as a reporter and eventually became its Editor. Currently, she is President of the Jefferson Arts Committee and the Recreation Program Coordinator in the Jefferson Township Recreation Department. She can be reached at carol.punturieri@thejeffersonchronicle.com.