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The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Breasts


Dressing up simple baked chicken breasts is as easy as adding a few tasty ingredients and combining a bit of searing with the baking. Cast-iron is your friend here, but any heavy, ovenproof skillet will work. Pan-searing the chicken and tomatoes for a few minutes before placing the skillet in the oven locks in that great seared flavor—and a little mozzarella topping finishes the bird with a flavorful, cheesy bite.

Note: The crispy, cheesy (this time, Romano) breadcrumbs add an extra flavor layer—make them first and sprinkle on at the end.

Also check out Chicken Breasts with Pan-Seared Grapes.

Serves 4

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup panko, or other fine, dry breadcrumbs 
  • 2 tbsp finely grated Romano cheese
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 6 oz each
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella
  • chopped fresh tarragon, for garnish
Preparation
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine the panko, Romano cheese, and melted butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Toast until browned and crumbly, 4-5 minutes. Set aside.  
Toasted Breadcrumbs
  1. Heat a large, ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil, swirling to coat.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sear until browned on the bottom, 6-7 minutes. Turn the breasts over and sear 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and add the shallot. Sauté 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and wine and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes.
  4. Return the chicken to the pan. Top each breast half with mozzarella. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and the breasts are just cooked through, 5-6 minutes, depending on size.
Chicken Beginning to Sear
Chicken after Turning
Shallot Added
Ready to Bake
Remove the skillet from the oven and sprinkle the chicken with breadcrumbs. Serve with tomatoes and pan juices and garnish with chopped tarragon.

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Breasts

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