20 August 2015

It's time for this month's Improv Challenge.  The premise of the Improv Challenge is easy: each month there are two assigned ingredients.  The participants must make a recipe using both ingredients and blog about it.   

This month's assigned ingredients were tomatoes and herbs.  Perfect for this time of year, when gardens are overflowing with both.  I don't garden, unfortunately, but I have a nice lady named Marge who plants some herbs in pots for me since she knows I like to cook.  The basil in the pic above came from my yard.  No tomatoes for us this year; need to make that more of a priority next year.

This is a recipe I made on a chilly evening in late June when we had some friends over for dinner.  We love grilling in the summertime, but it can get pretty boring always grilling the same things, so I like to get creative on the grill.  I put it all together and my husband mans the grill.  I have to say, he has been absolutely rocking the grill this summer.  Especially chicken.  I found some Caprese Grilled Chicken saved on my "On the Grill" Pinterest board from Add A Pinch.  It was plain chicken grilled, then topped with the mozzarella and tomato and drizzled with a balsamic reduction.  I twisted it up a bit and decided to marinate the chicken in balsamic instead of doing the reduction.  The results were fantastic.

Grilled Caprese Chicken

½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh basil, torn
4 chicken breast cutlets
Fresh mozzarella cheese
Fresh tomatoes

In a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, pour the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and torn basil.  Close bag and smoosh it around to evenly mix.  Open bag and add the chicken breast cutlets.  Close bag and refrigerate for 4 hours.

When ready to grill, remove chicken from the bag and give each cutlet a quick rinse with water to remove excess marinade.  Grill chicken over medium heat.  When you flip the chicken over to the second side, top each with a slice of mozzarella and a slice of tomato.  Grill until the chicken is cooked through and the mozzarella melts.  Remove from grill and garnish with additional basil, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

So the dark color of the chicken is not from grilling; it's from the balsamic marinade.  It's kind of the color of a cooked mushroom.  I did rinse off the excess marinade before grilling, but the chicken is kind of "stained" from it.  It didn't bother us or our guests; the marinade makes it so tender and flavorful you aren't going to give a rip what color it is.  Way better than a drizzle, in my opinion.  And topped with gooey melty mozzarella, the vibrant tomato, and fresh perfumy basil? Amazing!

This was a big hit with our friends and was so much better than the average "burgers and dogs" cookout.  And really, not that much more work!  I served it with an Italian pasta salad and my Broccoli Salad.  What a fun summer meal.

Be sure to check out all the other awesome tomato and herb recipes below and come back next month to see what I make with apples and oats.  Fall already? Oh man!

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