The thing is, I used to be terrified of cherry tomatoes. Long after I started eating regular tomatoes, cherries, unless diced like regular tomatoes, were off the table. And that’s not just because they have “cherry” in their name. It had to do with the idea of biting into one and having that fresh fruit popping sensation, when the skin breaks and your mouth fills with juice. This is, no doubt, the type of sensation that makes people love fruit. It gives me the willies.
Now that I’m over the hump, and have actually tried a raw, whole cherry tomato, I love the sweet, tart explosion of juice that comes with. But even more so than popping one into my mouth raw, I love what cherry tomatoes can do to a sauce, when they’re subjected to intense heat, and finally give in, blister, and pop. I f0rced them into this this last summer with my roasted yellow tomato capellini. This year, I took the same concept and brought it stove top, making a quick and easy pan sauce for simple seared chicken. With the addition of a little butter and fresh basil, the result is tart, sweet, and decadently savory. Dot the whole thing with fresh mozzarella, and you have the perfect family-style weeknight dinner.
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Seared Chicken Breasts with Cherry Tomato Pan Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella
Makes 2 servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2-3)
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 pint assorted cherry tomatoes (I used mostly orange)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh basil
1/4 pound fresh mozzarella
In a large cast iron skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season them generously on both sides with salt and paprika. Add the chicken to the pan and cook, lowering the heat to medium if your pan starts to smoke, until nicely browned on both sides and just pink in the middle, about 5 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and tent with foil.
Add the remaining butter to the pan, along with the garlic and tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are beginning to burst, stirring occasionally and scraping up any brown bits of chicken from the bottom, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and sugar and using the back of your spoon, gently crush the tomatoes so they give up all their juices. Simmer the sauce for another 3 minutes until it’s thickened and the acidity has mellowed. Stir in the basil and taste for seasoning, adding more salt as necessary. Add the chicken back to the pan and simmer until it’s cooked through. Dot the top with the mozzarella. Remove from the heat, garnish with basil or Parmesan, and serve immediately, family style.
This post is part of Food Network’s Summer Fest! Check out the other great tomato dishes below.
Summer Fest is a season long, bi-weekly event where Food Network editors team up with blogs to share tips and recipes about what’s available at the market.
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Seared Chicken with Cherry Tomato Pan Sauce
Haute Apple Pie: Heirloom Tomato & Three Cheese Tart
What’s Gaby Cooking: Zebra Tomato and Burrata Crostini
Zaika Zabardast: Balsamic Roasted Tomato-Basil Ice
And Love It Too: Healthy Lunchbox – Garlic Tomato Basil Pesto Bruchetta
Chez Us: Roasted Tomato Sauce
Daily*Dishin: Refreshing and Rustic – Tuscan Bread Salad
Glory Foods: Fresh Tomato Salsa
Dishin and Dishes: Tomato Tart Tatin
The Purple Cook: Eggplant Parmesan Caprese Salad
I Am Mommy: Tomato Crudite
Cooking With My Kid: Gluten-Free White Bean Chive Cakes with Heirloom Tomatoes
FN Dish: Easy Tomato Appetizers
Add a Pinch: Simple Caprese Salad Skewers
Sweet Life Bake: Salsa Cruda
Virtually Homemade: Farfalle with Roasted Tomato Sauce, Bacon and Shaved Romano
Dixie Chik Cooks: Tomato, Basil and Olive Bruschetta
The Sensitive Epicure: Yemista – Greek Stuffed Tomatoes & Peppers with Potatoes
Mooshu Jenne: Sun Burst Tomato Pasta
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Book Club, Tomatoes and a Recipe for Chicken Provençal?
Cooking With Elise: Tomato Parmesan Biscuits
From My Corner of Saratoga: Cooking from the Garden – Bruschetta Pizza
Fritos and Foie Gras: Tomato Terrine
Creative Culinary: Fresh and Savory Tomato Pie
Big Apple Nosh: Caprese Salad/Tomato Carnage
Spices and Aroma: Quick and Easy Paneer Curry
Zaika Zabardast: Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Breakfast Rolls