I find that on many occasions it’s the simple things in life that can bring the most pleasure. The same is true of food. For every recipe with an ingredients list as long as your arm there is one where you can count the components on the fingers of one hand. Steak Frites has always been the example I use to explain what I mean. Two basic ingredients – beef and potatoes – that when combined properly bring so much pleasure.
I could easily make the same argument with the Caprese Salad. With nothing more than Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Basil (and maybe a touch of olive oil) you can create magic. Knowing that these three ingredients work together so well, it’s not much of a leap to want to use them together in other ways.
I’ve done just that in this recipe for Chicken Caprese – admittedly with a few changes. Here I’ve added some fresh spinach leaves to add a bit more moisture and colour – as I felt that adding more basil would be overpowering. I’ve also swapped fresh tomatoes for sundried tomato paste – as I felt the former would get a bit lost. I haven’t, however, scrimped on the mozzarella!
The ingredients are used as a stuffing for butterflied chicken breasts to ensure the flavours permeate every mouthful. A little sprinkle of Parmesan on the top adding some colour and crunch after they come out of the oven.
This dish really does capture the flavours of Summer, even in the darkest depths of winter. Why not give it a go and keep the January blues at bay.
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- 50 g Baby Spinach washed
- 2 tsp Sundried Tomato Paste
- 100 g Mozzarella sliced
- 8 leaves Fresh Basil
- 25 g Parmesan sliced
- Black Pepper
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Butterfly the chicken breasts. Cut them horizontally almost the whole way through, then open out on a chopping board. Cover with cling film and bash gently with a rolling pin to make them a bit thinner.
- Lay out the spinach leaves then top with the sliced mozzarella, followed by the sundried tomato paste. Finally top with the basil leaves. Put each spinach and cheese stack onto one half of each chicken breast, then fold the other half over the top. This should envelop the filling with the meat, but you may need to secure the two halves together with cocktail sticks whilst they cook.
- Season lightly then top with the slices of parmesan. Put into the oven and bake for 25 minutes until cooked through.