January 17, 2022
I love chicken, especially fried chicken. One of my favorite chicken dishes is mine Breaded chicken cutlets with tomatoes and arugula. This is my favorite dish when I have limited time to cook but want to make something tasty and filling. I’m a poultry lover, and since we don’t eat much red meat at home, we eat a lot of vegetable-based dishes, with some seafood and chicken every now and then. I seem to buy a lot of poultry on sale because last week I found a lot of chicken parts while going through my freezer. Because I need to use up that chicken surplus, we’ve been eating a lot of poultry lately. This week I decided to try something new by using up some of my chicken breasts, homemade pesto straight from the freezer and some of our last cherry tomatoes from the garden. I also had two balls of buffalo mozzarella that I had to buy at the grocery store a few days ago because they were so cheap. I could have easily served the mozzarella with the tomatoes as a first course in a caprese salad, but I decided to throw my chicken and pesto into the mix.
I halved the chicken breast lengthwise, breaded it and roasted it in the oven as usual. Then I topped the chicken with slices of buffalo mozzarella and grilled until the cheese was all melted and gooey. I then took the chicken out of the oven and drizzled it with some of my homemade pesto, then spooned on some sweet baby tomatoes I tossed with olive oil and chopped garlic. The chicken was moist and tender, and the combination of melted mozzarella, fresh-tasting pesto sauce, and sweet cherry tomatoes was a perfect topping! I always prefer to make my own homemade breading mix, but if you’re short on time you can use a store-bought version, but it makes a difference in flavor if you make your own. Buffalo mozzarella isn’t necessary, and I just used it because I had it on hand. Buy good quality mozzarella. I wanted to use my garden tomatoes, so I use small cherry tomatoes, but any ripe, good-tasting tomato will work just fine; simply cut into small cubes. If the chicken pieces aren’t even thick, you may want to use a meat tenderizer to create an even thickness and cook evenly.
Enjoy your meal!
Deborah Mele Revised 2022
For the chicken:
2 medium to large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
3 cups stale bread cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chopped hot red chilli (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
For the tomato topping:
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes (or 2 cups diced ripe tomatoes – see notes above)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup homemade basil pesto
2 small balls of buffalo mozzarella, sliced (or 4 slices of mozzarella)
Garnish with fresh basil leaves
- For the chops, place the bread cubes, lemon zest, chilli, parsley, grated cheese, salt and pepper in the food processor and puree until smooth.
- Add the pine nuts and pulse until the nuts are coarsely chopped and transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl.
- In a separate shallow bowl, beat the eggs.
- Working 1 piece of chicken at a time, dip in the eggs, then press down on the breadcrumbs with your fingertips to help the crumbs stick.
- Place the breaded chops on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the crumb layer to set.
- In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the tomato topping and set aside until needed.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a large baking pan with aluminum foil, then place the butter and oil on top.
- Place the pan in the oven for a few minutes to melt the butter.
- Rotate the pan to evenly coat with the butter mixture, then place the chicken on top.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake an additional 10 minutes, until cooked through.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and place the mozzarella on top to cover.
- Set the grill to high, then return the pan to the oven and grill until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Place the chicken on a platter, drizzle with the pesto sauce and spoon the tomato mixture over it.
- Serve immediately.