Bruschetta Chicken (Entrée or Sandwich)
Okay, let me start by saying YUM!?! EASY!?! ELEGANT!?!
So I was talking to a workmate one day and the topic of food came up (as it so often does with me). She told me about this chicken recipe that a friend of hers would fix now and again and how great/easy it was. Being one who cannot listen and learn, but must “see and do” to even half understand, I started poking around on the Inter-Web to find what she was talking about. I came across a recipe and it went up hill from there!
I had a wild hair last night after an underwhelming and unmotivated day at work (which is not the norm). I was CRAVING Bruschetta Chicken and GOING to have that Bruschetta Chicken on BREAD! I also made the command decision to go to get the chicken from J&M Butcher instead of the grocery store. Their chicken is a little less expensive, but an added benefit is the meats there do not have preservatives and additives. Down-side? The meat must be used faster. The Up-side? Who wants chemicals in their food? I do not want to preserve my body through chemical laden food if I can help it. Ok, in all honesty, the beauty here is – you cannot see that I am eating a TV dinner as I type this.
ANYWHO, 3 stops later I rolled up to my house with the ingredients for a good night of digestive goodness. Let the good times roll y’all!
I crushed, peeled and sliced the garlic.
I cut the huge chicken breasts down into nice slices. While as an entrée the whole breast looks nice, it is a bit much I think on a sandwich. I like to eat more and more, but I cannot hold a ton at one sitting. These four pounds are enough to take me a week! Plus, it takes less time to cook slices of the breast as opposed to the whole chunk.
I heated the pan with olive oil and some of the garlic. Ended up over-cooking the garlic on too high a temp and had to start that seemingly simple process over! I lowered the heat and prepared a little extra garlic and put aside. Scooped the burnt garlic out of the oil and used the olive oil in the pan to cook the chicken. At least it was already garlicky! Yes, that is a spell-checked word! GARLICKY…
In went two breasts’ worth of meat as that is all the pan would hold. Did I tell you these were huge?
|Yea, it's rude...|
I should be so lucky.
I sprinkled some sea salt over the cooking breast meat. I have become fascinated with sea salts. I currently have 4 kinds including Pink Australian, Smoked Oak and Black Lava salts. The way I choose what salt goes into a dish relies more on color and that hoodoo voodoo feeling I get than any science or even art. I just wave my hands over the containers and land on the one that vibrates right.
I commenced to stirring the chicken around, tossing and flipping until the meat was done. Picked it out carefully (leaving as much liquid behind as possible for the flavor), added a little more olive oil to the pan and repeated the process with the second half of the meat.
After the meat is basically cooked, I tossed the first batch back in the pan and tossed most of the fresh garlic in and stirred around over the heat. I did leave a little garlic in the bowl to use later.
In between tossing and turning the cooking meat, I cut up one of my tomatoes. I had four, but since I was just cooking for me, it made no sense to cut up a lot of tomatoes. I could cut them fresh later for an encore with left over chicken! I sprinkled the tomatoes with the sea salt. Do you see a trend here? This is really just a “to taste” or “per dietary restrictions” sort of measure. People, I really like sea salt. Normally I would use fresh basil leaves but the store had some pretty sad looking basil. Options include dried basil (eh…) or crushed basil in a tube found in the herb section of the vegetable coolers in your supermarket. I used the crushed basil and mixed it with the tomatoes along with a few twists of the pepper mill.
At this point I also worked in shredding my own mozzarella instead of using bagged. It is a little extra work, but is often cheaper.
For the entrée you would place whole (or group pieces of) chicken breasts on a plate, top with the tomato, basil, salt and pepper mixture, heat under broiler, top with mozzarella, heat under broiler a bit longer and serve.
Tonight I took Chiabata bread and cut open, then toasted in the pan I used for the chicken. I just added a little olive oil and butter, let it heat and it picked up the garlic remnants and flavors.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (Fresh or frozen but thawed)
- A little salt – Pinch or two (I used smoked salt, but sea salt in general is a good option)
- 2 T olive oil
- Fresh mozzarella cheese (or lower moisture brick mozzarella or a bag of shredded mozzarella of choice)
- 4 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 8 fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled and thinly sliced into chiffonade (or cheat like I did and go with basil in a tube)
- 5 cloves fresh garlic, crushed then minced or sliced.
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ Cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat a pan with olive oil.
*Option: Combine balsamic and olive oil in a bowl. Season both sides of chicken with pinches of salt and place on grill. Brush top sides of chicken with balsamic mixture.
2. Cook for 4-5 minutes and flip chicken. Brush with additional balsamic and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until cooked through. If you are going the balsamic option, brush additional mixture on now.
3. Combine the chicken with garlic and cook a tad. Remove from heat.
4. In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, basil garlic, salt and balsamic. Toss gently to combine. Place chicken breasts on a serving plate and top with tomato mixture. Serve warm.
- For a sandwich, pick the bread of your choice, load with all the ingredients and either eat open faced or sandwich style with or without toasting bread or broiling.
- Combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar together to create a brush on marinade while cooking.
- Cook chicken on grill.
- Add a drizzle of olive oil/balsamic mixture to the entrée or sandwich instead of marinating with it.
- Add a bed of spinach leaves to the entrée or on the sandwich.
Okay, as a side note, I walked through the house moaning and gloating over this creation. It was shameless, entertaining, and just plain fun. This meal works well for me as I can cook up the meat and keep it in the fridge for several meals. Less work, more meals, cost is not bad at all.
This summer I see a basil garden happening.