Why is it that Chefs and cooking magazines don’t seem to tell us simple tricks that add lots of flavor to a recipe? In this case, marinating the chicken with various spices both softens the chicken and creates flavor. I learned this method in a number of other recipes that I was making. Those dishes were designed for a long marinade, and generally, a slow cooking process. The results are so good with this process, why not try to use it in other ways?
So how about using for a quicker cooking method? In this Stuffed Chicken Caprese, I did just that. In so doing, I began to create the layers of flavor we always hear them talk about on the food cooking shows. I simply mixed salt, pepper and generous amounts of dried oregano with olive oil. I poured it on the chicken, rubbed it in and stuck the chicken in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.
I removed the chicken from the fridge and let it warm about 15 minutes. Then, I was ready to bake the chicken. This chicken could easily be served with just this marinate for a very tasty, quick preparation. I upped the dish by adding fresh mozzarella. Fresh mozzarella is perfect for this dish because it is very slow melting. Who doesn’t love that gooey, grilled cheese kind of gooey, melt of their cheese.
Initially, I cooked the chicken for 15 minutes or so. Then, I took the tray out of the oven and sliced the breasts horizontally. The cut goes most of the way through. Then, thick slices of the mozzarella was placed inside each sliced chicken breast and returned to the oven for another 15 minutes of cooking. As an aside, to get the thick slices of mozzarella for a good melt, I took the mozzarella loaf and cut horizontal slices instead of vertical slices. In so doing, I had longer and thicker slices of mozzarella for the stuffing. This truly ensured a gooey melt. Getting back to the cooking method, the two-step process made sure the chicken was fully cooked and provided the perfect length of melting time for the cheese.
- 8 chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons each salt & pepper
- 3 - 4 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1/2 pound mozzarella
- Combine the oil, salt, pepper and oregano in a bowl and mix well.
- Place the chicken in a deep container and pour the marinade on the chicken. Rub the marinade in the chicken.
- Let marinade for 2 hours or overnight.
- Heat an outdoor grill on medium heat.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge and let warm up for 20 - 30 minutes.
- Cook the chicken about 7 minutes per side.
- Take off the grill and place on a cutting board.
- Make a horizontal cut into the the middle of the breast. Make the cut almost all the way through but do not cut all the way through.
- Meanwhile, cut the cheese in thick, approximately 1/4 inch, slices lengthwise.
- Take the cheese and insert into the chicken cavity you created with the cut.
- Place on a baking tray and cook in a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes.
- This should provide a good melt on the cheese and cook the chicken all the way through.
- Serve and enjoy!
The baked chicken with the melting mozzarella.
The final plated dish served with a light pasta.