Tomatoes! Dressing Up Chicken

When the warmest days of summer begin to fade into hints of fall, my garden and CSA boxes overflow with ripe, juicy tomatoes. It's sometimes a challenge to use them all and that's a challenge I welcome year after year. After all, not everyone gets to greet something like this when walking into the kitchen every day:

So now, while they are at their prime, I wanted to share some of my favorite tomato recipes and celebrate the season. In my house, we have chicken at least once a week and sometimes several times. It's quick to prepare, tasty, and relatively healthy. And while some of our favorite dishes aren't quite that healthy, tomato season makes it pretty easy to hit that target. Case in point: chicken parmesan is traditionally thickly-coated chicken drowning in lots of sauce and cheese. However, parmesan chicken is a slightly different beast:

Inspired by some of the same flavors as the original, this dish lightly coats the chicken with seasoned cheese (with no other breading ingredients) and bakes it instead of frying. Then fresh mozzarella is tossed with even fresher tomatoes and the ensuing relish is spooned generously over the crispy, baked chicken. In fact, if you wanted to forgo the cheese in the relish, you'd barely miss it. Fresh tomatoes are just that magical!

Parmesan Chicken with Fresh Tomato Relish

  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 2/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 large chicken breasts, sliced into individual serving sizes
  • 2 T. mayonnaise
  • 3 oz. fresh mozzarella (sometimes called buffalo mozzarella), torn or sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 c. chopped fresh tomatoes (I like to use a variety for flavor, texture, and color)
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine the Italian seasoning, granulated garlic, coarse salt, and grated parmesan in a shallow dish. Set aside.

Lightly brush the chicken pieces with the mayonnaise. Then dredge the pieces through the seasoned cheese mixture and set carefully on the prepared baking sheet. When all of the chicken pieces have been coated, bake them for 20 minutes in the preheated oven or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

While the chicken is baking/resting, combine the remaining ingredients (fresh mozzarella through salt and pepper) in a small bowl. Serve the chicken topped with the fresh tomato relish and enjoy!

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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