Its been a while… but we’re coming back with a bang. Summer is my favorite season for cooking. I feel so inspired with all the fresh produce, herbs, and summer flavors. Peaches, tomatoes, basil, corn – speaking my language. More with both peaches and corn coming soon (hint hint), but this week we’re focusing on tomatoes and basil. This baked caprese chicken is everything you need in a summer dish. Full of summer flavors but easy enough for a weeknight. Truly a winner on all fronts. Lets get into it:
Supporting Local Farms
I’ve talked about the importance of eating seasonally before here (super important by the way), but I’ve never talked about supporting your local farms and farmers. And on that note, the first reason I would suggest supporting local farmers would be to promote seasonal eating. The two go hand in hand. If your local farmer is growing and selling it, the likelihood that it is in season is much higher. Another reason is to reduce potential contaminants. The first things that come to mind are conventional meat and dairy. Those two groups are the highest risk foods for contamination. However, buying locally reduces that by having less steps between the animal and you, as well as much more responsible farming with out the hormones and preservatives that large conventional meat companies use. I recognize that it can be more expensive to shop locally. However, you are supporting not only a farmer in your area for them to continue growing and selling in your community, but also you are supporting the local economy where you live. As many of you know, we live in Nashville , TN and our favorite local shop for produce and meat is Smokin’ Oaks Organic Farms. They sell local produce, dairy, and other items as well as all locally sourced meats from their farm North of Nashville. Read more about them here and if you are in the area – go support them!
The ingredients for this dish are so simple as always. The chicken breast is something I have on hand almost every week. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. A traditional caprese salad is made with mozzarella – but – whenever I am wanting to use mozzarella but also need it to melt, I always use burrata cheese. It is essentially mozzarella with cream in the center of the cheese – this creates an impeccable melting texture for pizzas, bruschetta, and this baked caprese chicken :). Trust me on that one. Then all you need is some fresh tomatoes (which are extremely easy to find about anywhere in the summer) and fresh basil. The last secret ingredient that absolutely levels this dish up… bacon. Yep, nuff said.
The (Baked Caprese Chicken) Process
This dish starts by cooking our bacon in an oven safe skillet. Once that is complete, remove the bacon and sear the seasoned chicken breasts on both side before putting the tomatoes and cheese on top. Finally, add to the oven and complete the cooking process. Garnish with bacon and basil Serve alone or with other summer sides like corn, watermelon, or peaches. Enjoy!
Baked Caprese Chicken
- 8 strips bacon
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tomato
- 2 large pearls of burrata
- fresh basil
- salt + pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, gather all ingredients and set aside, and heat an oven safe skillet on medium heat
- Slice tomato into thin slices (at least 8 total). Thoroughly season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper
- Begin to cook your bacon by adding the strips to the hot skillet. Cook until done on both sides. Remove the cooked bacon from the skillet and set aside
- Remove about 1/4 cup of the bacon grease, still leaving enough to thoroughly coat the skillet, turn skillet up to medium high, and immediately add each chicken breast
- Sear each chicken breast on both sides for around 3 minutes each
- Once seared, add sliced tomato to the top of each chicken breast and place the skillet in the oven for around 20 minutes* or until fully cooked. *At the last 10 minutes, remove the skillet, add torn burrata to cover each chicken breast and return the skillet to the oven.
- Remove the skillet from the oven. Thinly slice your basil leaves and crumble the cooked bacon. Add both on top of the chicken and enjoy!