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Griddle-Seared Chicken with Caprese-Style Tomatoes

With griddle-seared chicken, anything is possible
Griddle-seared chicken with Caprese-style tomatoes
Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella/food styling

When serving this griddle-seared chicken breasts with a traditional caprese salad, use marinated mozzarella balls and dress the salad with some of the oil from the container.

This recipe by JeanMarie Brownson appeared in the Chicago Tribune.


  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, total 2 ½ pounds
  • Salt
  • 1 container (16 ounces) celigene mozzarella balls, drained
  • 2 to 3 Cups cored, seeded, diced ripe tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Safflower, sunflower or expeller-pressed canola oil
  • 1/2 Cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh herb sprigs


Pat chicken dry.

Remove the chicken tenders from the underside of the breasts and save for another use.

Place one breast half on the cutting board.

Using a very sharp knife, butterfly the chicken as follows: Starting at the thickest side, slice the chicken horizontally in half cutting nearly three-fourths of the way through to the other side. Open the chicken like a book (or a butterfly); cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Pound until a uniform ½ inch thick. Cut in half if desired. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken breasts.

Season chicken generously with salt. (If working ahead, refrigerate loosely covered up to a day.)

Otherwise, leave on the counter in a cool kitchen for up to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice mozzarella balls in half.

Put into a bowl.

Add tomatoes, chives and 1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a large cast-iron or nonstick griddle (or large skillet) over high heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact.

Turn on the exhaust fan.

Reduce heat under the griddle to medium-high.

Add a light coating of safflower oil then immediately add the chicken in a single, uncrowded layer. (Work in batches if necessary.)

Cook, without turning, until golden brown, about 4 minutes.

Flip chicken; cook second side until golden, about 3 minutes more.

Transfer chicken to a platter.

Drizzle with olive oil.

Repeat to cook remaining chicken.

Stir basil into tomato mixture, then spoon mixture over chicken.

Sprinkle with Parmesan and garnish with herb sprigs.