These perfectly-italian-seasoned panko breaded chicken breasts would be perfect on their own, but they are 100x times more succulent with fresh caprese salsa and melty mozzarella cheese baked on top. Plus, no one will ever be able to tell that you baked the chicken instead of frying it (this is because of the small amount of oil you'll add to the breadcrumbs, a little trick I picked up from Lauren's Latest)!
Baked Caprese ChickenRecipe Source: © Amanda Jenks
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, each cut into equal halves horizontally (making 4 cutlets)
4-8 mozzarella cheese slices *I recommend using fresh mozzarella if possible
optional for topping: a balsamic reduction (my favorite), balsamic vinegar (pictured above), or storebought/homemade balsamic vinaigrette
For the breading:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
2 tbsp milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 1/2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil
Set out three separate shallow dishes. In the first dish combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Stir with a fork or whisk and set aside. In the second dish, whisk the egg, milk, salt and pepper together until egg is completely beaten. Set aside. In the third dish combine the panko breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese. Stir with a fork or whisk until fully incorporated. Drizzle the breadcrumb mixture with the olive oil and then work the oil in with your *clean* hands until every breadcrumb is coated with oil and there aren't any large clumps. Adding the oil will help the panko breadcrumbs brown in the oven (they'd normally stay pretty pale). As a result, the chicken will look and taste like it has been fried, but it's totally baked!
Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Dip both sides of each piece of chicken first in the flour, then in the eggs (letting any excess egg drip off), and finally into the breadcrumbs. Place the breaded pieces of chicken on prepared baking sheet.
Once oven is preheated, bake chicken for 30-40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165˚F (the cooking time of the chicken will largely depend on the thickness of your cutlets). I rotate my pan half-way through the cooking time, because my oven has hot spots and I like them to cook and brown evenly.
While the chicken is baking, make the caprese salsa.
For the caprese salsa:
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 heaping cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup prepared pesto
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all of the salsa ingredients in a small bowl. When the chicken is fully cooked, remove the baking sheet from the oven and quickly top each piece of chicken with approximately 1/4 cup of the caprese salsa. Then place 1-2 slices of mozzarella cheese on top of the salsa.
Return the chicken to the oven and bake for 3-5 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
I like to serve this chicken with a syrup-y balsamic reduction drizzled over the top. In a pinch straight balsamic vinegar works too, or you could drizzle the chicken with a balsamic vinaigrette. If you don't like balsamic vinegar, you could obviously just opt out of all of these options. BUT if you do choose to drizzle your chicken with any of these balsamic flavors, please remember that a little bit goes a long way for the flavor profile!
Serves: 4Calories: 390
Additional Notes: Calorie and carb count assume that you have some leftover flour from the breading process, which is not calculated into the results. Nutrition facts were also calculated assuming you only use one slice of mozzarella cheese per piece of chicken (Great Value Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese Slices).