How can something so simple be so good? You probably have every almost every ingredient for this in your kitchen right this very moment. Add to that the minimal amount of time it takes to get this on the table, pair with a green salad and some crusty bread and you have the perfect meal. Make it for a casual family weeknight or for weekend company. It’s easy to make 2 servings or 10. This is one of those recipes to go to when your mind isn’t working well enough to think too hard about dinner (this happens to me a lot) or when you’re having last minute guests and don’t have much time to shop for or prepare dinner. The drizzle of glaze isn’t just great for flavor but it’s also beautiful and adds a touch of fancy to an otherwise very simple dish. I’m real excited that this chicken found its way into my life.
Since there are only a few ingredients, make sure they’re all fresh and of good quality. Get the best looking tomatoes you can find. Romas are a good choice and usually a good size. They are what I used. If the heirlooms at the store look good, splurge on them. You only need 1 or 2 (to serve 2-4 people) so go for it! Get fresh mozzarella, the kind packed in water, and make sure to slice it generously. Now the basil. If you have some in your garden then just grab your shears and head out the back door. If not, get the fresh kind at the store. Don’t use dried basil. It will just not be the same.
This really could not be simpler. Grill the chicken (or cook it in a pan on the stove), and in the last couple minutes place the cheese on top so it has time to melt. If you do this in the oven you might turn the broiler on for a minute or so to melt the cheese. Top with a slice of tomato, sprinkle with the chopped basil and drizzle with balsamic glaze.
The glaze is probably the most time consuming and complicated part about this. It’s not hard, it just requires time and some patience. But it’s worth it. The recipe below makes more than you will probably need, but you can save it, keep it in the fridge, and use it for other dishes. Drizzle on top of a caprese salad (just what you’re using in this dish minus the chicken) or as a finishing sauce for grilled pork tenderloin or other meats.
Below are the ingredients that will serve at least 4 using 4 chicken breasts sliced in half horizontally to make 8 total pieces, 2 per person. But some of your lighter eaters may just eat one piece. If you end up with leftovers I HIGHLY recommend reheating and serving some of the chicken on warm crusty bread with some arugula or other green to make a chicken caprese sandwich. Enjoy!
Grilled Caprese Chicken with Balsamic Glaze
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced horizontally into 2 pieces
- 1-2 medium to large tomatoes, or 3 to 4 small (you want to try to almost cover the chicken with the tomato slices
- 8 slices of fresh mozzarella (again, you want the mozzarella slice to almost cover the chicken breast)
- kosher salt and pepper
- fresh basil leaves, 8-10 (leave them whole or chiffonade)
- 1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Pour balsamic vinegar into a small, heavy saucepan. Bring the vinegar to a low boil over medium high heat. Adjust heat as needed to keep it at a low boil. Stir occasionally until vinegar begins to thicken and coat the back of a spoon, 15-20 minutes.
- Stir in brown sugar and mustard and cook an additional 5 minutes, remove from the heat and let cool slightly before serving. This will thicken a bit as it cools.
- Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Grill the chicken, 4 minutes on the first side, then flip the breasts over and let cook for another minute or 2. Place one piece of mozzarella on each chicken breast and let cook for another 3-4 minutes until chicken is done and mozzarella is melted.
- Transfer chicken breasts to a serving platter and immediately place basil leaves on top of the cheese followed by the tomatoes. Drizzle lightly with balsamic glaze and serve additional glaze on the side.