Caprese Salad is a delicious combination of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. It is frequently served as a stand-alone appetizer, or as a topping on a pounded, breaded and fried veal chop or cutlet. Bruschetta is a fresh tomato and basil combination mixed with a good extra virgin olive oil and served on toasted Italian bread, as an appetizer, hors d’ oeuvre or amuse-bouche. We have taken both ideas, adapted them slightly and added them to Chicken Parmigiana, but have substituted the bruschetta for tomato sauce. The combination of cold tomatoes and hot chicken with melted mozzarella is delicious and easy to make. As a matter of fact the bruschetta can be made a day in advance and refrigerated, or can be prepared while the chicken is being fried or baked, thereby cutting down on the time required for preparing dinner.
Total Time 40-45 minutes, active time 25-30 minutes
Chicken Parmigiana alla Caprese
For the Bruschetta:
2 fresh, ripe tomatoes sliced and diced.
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
15 basil leaves, chopped
2 slices of red onion, chopped fine
1 tbsp. dried oregano
Hint: If any of Grandpa Tom’s Tomato Salad should be left, which is highly unlikely, you can chop it up and add the red onion and oregano.
For the Chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Italian Style breadcrumbs
1 medium-sized (about the size of a baseball) fresh, unsalted, mozzarella, cut into 4 slices
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Crack the egg into a shallow bowl, whisk well and add salt & pepper.
3. Add breadcrumbs to a second shallow bowl.
4. Pre-heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the butter.
5. While the butter is melting, dip each chicken breast in the egg mixture, coating it well and then in the breadcrumbs, again coating it well and add to the melted butter once it is bubbling.
6. Fry the breaded chicken breasts on medium heat for 15 minutes, turning several times to ensure a good browning on both sides.
7. When the chicken breasts are browned, transfer them to a non-stick baking pan, or cookie sheet sprayed with Pam and bake in the oven, on the center rack, for 15 minutes or until the chicken breasts register 170 degrees on a meat thermometer.
8. While the chicken breasts are baking, prepare the bruschetta by chopping, slicing, dicing and mixing, or if made in advance, pour yourself a glass of wine and relax.
9. When the chicken breasts are baked, place two slices of mozzarella atop each breast and bake for 5 more minutes, until the cheese melts.
10. Remove the chicken breast to plates and cover generously with the bruschetta, using a slotted spoon to reduce the amount of liquid.
Serve with Broccoli Florets Sautéed in olive oil and garlic.
A Chianti Riserva filled with depth and complexity makes a great accompaniment to this dish.