Caprese salads are one of my favorite things to start my meal with or just to snack on. Caprese salads are very simple but very delicious. This is definitely a recipe that anyone and every can make. The salad consists of only 5 ingredients; mozzarella, fresh basil, tomatoes, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar (this is the only ingredient that has to be cooked)… I know you are wondering ,”But how do those 5 very simple, non Creole, ingredients make a Creole Caprese salad?” Well it doesn’t unless we spice it up a bit, wait for it……CHICKEN! Mind blowing right? I’ll explain how this surprise ingredient will spice things up a little further down.
So I’m sure you’re thinking (I hope you are at least) how does a normal Caprese salad become a Creole Caprese salad. Well it does so by really making it no longer a Caprese salad which by definition only consists of the 5 ingredients mentioned earlier. Sometimes you just need a little bit more, so I present to you a nice blackened chicken thigh added to the salad.
When using so few ingredients I believe the quality of the ingredients is essential to the quality of flavor of your dish more so than more complicated recipes. I try to buy local as much as I can. The tomatoes that I use, and really the only tomatoes other than Heirloom, came from a small vegetable and fruit stand in one of the little country towns outside of New orleans. I was lucky enough that they had some okra as well so there may be a fried okra dish coming soon.
The blackening seasoning recipe that I use can be found on my blog. It works just as well on chicken as it does fish. It brings a nice bit of spice to the salad, so if you decide to make the salad with the blackened chicken you won’t need to add salt and pepper to the salad. I use boneless chicken thighs when I blacken chicken for two reasons. One, I prefer dark meat to white meat because I feel it has more flavor; and two, because boneless chicken thighs tend to be thinner than boneless chicken breasts so they’re easier to blacken on the top. If you prefer to use chicken breast to thighs I recommend pounding the breasts out to thin them out.
[recipe title=”Creole Caprese Salad” servings=”2″ time=” 30 mins” difficulty=”Easy”]
- 2 Creole tomatoes (or Roma if you can’t get them)
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella
- Fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs (or whatever cut you prefer)
- Blackening seasoning
- Olive oil
In a medium sauce pan over medium low heat reduce the balsamic vinegar until it is a thick syrup, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the reduction is finished take it off of the heat and allow it to cool, this can be accelerated by placing it in the fridge once it has cooled off the stove for a few minutes.
To prepare the chicken trim any excess fat, wash under cold water, and dry it. To ensure that chicken cooks pound chicken until it is roughly 1/4 in. thick. This can be done by putting the chicken in the middle of two pieces of plastic wrap and pounding with a kitchen mallet, or a heavy pot or pan. Generously season the chicken with the blackening seasoning.
Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy metal pan over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot add the chicken and let it cook for roughly 4-5 minutes on the first side.
While the chicken is cooking it’s time to prepare the salad. Slice mozzarella and tomatoes into slices that are roughly 1/4 in. thick. Pull a couple dozen fresh basil leaves off of their stems.
Turn Chicken and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until chicken is done. If you are using thicker pieces of chicken and need continue cooking them but don’t want to burn the outside of your chicken preheat an oven to 350 and finish the cooking process in the oven. Remove chicken from the pan and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes.
To plate layer the tomatoes, mozzarella, and the basil leaves. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar reduction and olive oil over the salad. Slice chicken and plate it alongside the salad. If you are making the salad without the chicken a nice pinch of salt and pepper will add a nice depth of flavor.
As always thank you for taking a few moments from your day to read over this and I hope that you are able to try this recipe sometime and that you enjoy it. Feedback and comments are always welcome and appreciated.
Have a blessed day,