The Salad Series: Simple Chicken Salad with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Bocconcini, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

The Salad Series: Simple Chicken Salad with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Bocconcini, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

I've been really enjoying this salad diet but I've definitely been running into a wall when it comes to unique ideas. I decided to take this salad back to basics – simple crispy-skinned chicken breasts, plump, roasted cherry tomatoes and bocconcini (small mozzarella cheese balls) and simply topped with the homemade balsamic vinaigrette from our previous recipe.

The final product is bursting with flavors and texture and it was definitely a nice break from some of the more overly complex recipes.

Note: I use boneless, skin-on chicken breasts. If your grocery store has a butcher, take a pack of split chicken breasts to them and ask them to de-bone the breasts and leave the skin on. Or, you can de-bone them at home but most butchers will be happy to do it for you! If you can't find bocconcini at your grocery store, buy a ball of fresh mozzarella and tear it into bite-sized pieces.

GRADE

Serves: 2

Cost: $

Skill Level: Easy

Time to Make: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

2 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts

1 package vine cherry tomatoes (Or 1 pint loose cherry tomatoes)

8 ounces bocconcini, drained

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1 small shallot

Salt and pepper to taste

FOR SERVING

2 cups mixed greens (mesclun greens, watercress, arugula, or baby spinach)

1/2 hothouse cucumber

A few sprigs of fresh basil

METHOD

Prepare Ingredients: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Pat the chicken dry and season all over with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the cucumber and set aside. Tear the basil leaves from the stems and discard the stems. Set the leaves aside.

Fry the Chicken: Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high until very hot and almost smoking. Place the chicken, skin-side down, in the skillet and cook without moving for 6-8 minutes or until the skin is crispy and well browned. As the chicken is cooking, arrange the cherry tomatoes around the breasts and sprinkle the tomatoes with a bit of salt. Flip the chicken breasts and transfer to the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes more or until the temperature reads 165ºF at the thickest part of the breast. If you'd like your tomatoes to be a bit more browned, remove the breasts from the skillet after they have finished cooking (and keep them covered with foil to keep warm) and continue roasting the tomatoes until they're cooked to your liking.

Make the Balsamic Vinaigrette: While the chicken and tomatoes are roasting, prepare the vinaigrette. In a bowl combine the minced shallot with the balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard. Slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil and continue whisking until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To Serve: Before serving, slice the chicken breasts crosswise on an angle. Tear the basil leaves and toss them with the greens, sliced cucumber, and a bit of balsamic vinaigrette before dividing them between plates. Arrange the sliced chicken breasts on top and arrange the roasted tomatoes and bocconcini around the chicken. Serve with more balsamic vinaigrette. Enjoy!


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Designer and photographer living in NYC. I work as a design manager in ed tech and I make tasty recipes in my spare time!