When you have a craving for something, do you typically ‘Just do it!’ Recently I found myself craving balsamic vinegar – don’t ask me why – for the life of me I couldn’t tell you.
Certain meals, when I sit and think about them, just make my mouth salivate. They must trigger my memory … you know, the memory of aroma, of taste and how it changes the very air that you breathe. This is one of those dishes.
Having traveled much over the years, a recipe that has always been a firm favourite is caprese chicken. It is simple, easy to cook, jam-packed with flavour and simply delicious!
Here is what you will need:
For the chicken
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
500 gram’s sweet tomatoes, halved
4 tablespoons basil roughly chopped
4 thick slices fresh mozzarella
For the linguini
Generous portion linguini, cooked al dente
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons fresh parmesan
The all important how to:
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in the olive oil. Dry the chicken with a kitchen towel and lightly season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken into the skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides, 6 minutes per side should do the trick. Set aside on a plate.
Turn the heat down a little, then pour the balsamic vinegar into skillet, add the garlic and simmer for about, one minute, stirring constantly. Place the tomatoes into the skillet and lightly season with salt. Leave to simmer until soft. Finally stir in the basil.
Place the chicken back into the skillet and snuggle in with the tomatoes. Top with fresh thick slices of mozzarella and cover with a lid allowing time for the cheese to melt.
Place a pot of water on the stove. Season with salt and pour in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bring to a boil and add in the linguini. Cook for 12 minutes, then remove from the heat and strain. Once strained place in a large stainless steal bowl. In the same pot you just cooked the linguini in, pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and place back on the stove on a medium heat, add to this the garlic and parsley. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat then pour on to the linguini. Toss gently.
In serving, spoon the tomatoes over the chicken. I had this with linguini, tossed with garlic, parmesan, olive oil and freshly chopped parsley. Satisfying? You bet!
Ian Leatt is a trained chef from across the pond.