Caprese Chicken on the Fly

There is nothing like a last minute dinner guest to throw you off.

A friend of mine had a layover in our area and called at the last minute to "stop by" and see us between flights. Hmmm, not a big fan of drop-ins, except for afternoon coffee and cake, so what to make at 5 pm to satisfy a 6 pm hungry guest?

Just because I write a food blog doesn't mean I can whip things up in my sleep.
Most meals are planned and shopped carefully for..... Ok, enough complaining, this is what I made.

I was thawing boring boneless chicken breasts anyway.............

Caprese Chicken (turned out GREAT!):

4 boneless chicken breasts (medium thickness, not the thin ones)
kosher salt & pepper
olive oil
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella, packed in water
roasted pepper strips (you can use jarred in a pinch)
a few fresh basil leaves
balsamic syrup

So here's the deal. You can grill your breasts or use a grill pan, like I did, since we haven't opened the grill for the season yet.

I used to make my own balsamic syrup by reducing balsamic vinegar in a saucepan until syrupy, but I find that I like the store bought easy squeeze bottled stuff better. It's great to have on hand, and makes everything look finished and pretty before presenting.

Season the chicken breasts liberally with kosher salt & pepper.
Heat some olive oil in a grill pan or brush your outdoor grill w/ cooking spray (so the chicken doesn't stick).

Grill the chicken about 6 minutes per side. During the last minute of grilling, lay a slice of the fresh mozzarella on top and criss cross the pepper slices. The cheese will not totally melt, but will be nice and warm. Sprinkle the cheese with some sea salt if you like.

Using tongs, arrange the breasts on a large platter and sprinkle w/ fresh basil leaves. Drizzle all over w/ balsamic syrup.

These are delicious served warm with toasted garlic bread and a side of broccoli sauteed in garlic. Great for a summer party.

Dinner is served.

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That's beautiful Stace, love the colors, you do good under pressure! I can't wait to uncover my grill, tomarrow 56 here in Chicago!!
Catherine said…
Wow. I love this beautiful simple recipe. Adding it to try out this week. Thank you!
Lulu said…
I am making this tonight in your favorite grill pan! Easy! I have a jar of roasted peppers and mozzarella cheese! Easy peasy.
Ciao Chow Linda said…
Can i call an hour before and get this dinner? you hit it out of the ball park with thinking on your feet and coming up with a delicious meal.
I think I'll call you the next time I'm in NYC!... "Hi Stacey! Can I stop by, meet you for the first time, and have dinner?"
I understand about the food-blog-thing and people assuming there's always a spectacular 3-course meal for dinner at our house... not always so.
Joanne said…
I am NOT a fan of guests stopping by mostly unannounced either, but caprese never fails to please!
Christine said…
That was very quick and delicious thinking on your part! Love anything caprese. Also a great idea for a weeknight dinner in a hurry!
Anonymous said…
"If there is room in your heart, then there is room in your home." Only kidding! Hope all's A-OK with you - you've been SLIGHTLY less present on your blog lately, and I'm a worry wart. Additionally, this new typeface for the comments is freaking me out. A fuss pot, too!
Stacey Snacks said…

Thank you for your concern, everything is ok, just been busy lately and going out to eat too much!

I have 4 posts for this week, and I promise a full week of recipes next week!!!

Thank you!
Anonymous said…
Good news - thank YOU, Ms. Snacks!
Oui, Chef said…
Way to think on your feet, Stacey....these are beautiful!
Hi, I am new here. Lovely blog! I am not a fan of last minute visitors either. To be completely honest it throws me a little bit as I like to be planned. It sounds like you recovered really well by using lovely simple ingredients to make an impressive looking dish!