Monday, May 12, 2014

Grilled Caprese Chicken

We had a major "light bulb moment" yesterday.

Over a year ago, my bedside lamp suddenly stopped working. This caused a little disruption in my normal nighttime routine as I like to read in bed before falling asleep. The large overhead light in our room is too bright to have on for reading since Paul prefers to flop into bed and instantly start snoring. While upset that the light was no longer working, it really did not surprise me since the lamp had been acquired during a campus dumpster dive during the spring semester of my sophomore year of college. I actually was surprised that the little lamp had made it this far!

These pictures have nothing whatsoever to do with the post - I just felt like sharing!

When my engineer-extraordinaire husband arrived home that evening, I told him about the lamp. He agreed to have a look at it to see if he could fix it. Well, that did not happen right away. In fact, weeks and then months passed by and that broken lamp was still sitting on our nightstand. In the meantime, I had been reading in bed with a flashlight. Paul insisted that I stop using the flashlight out of concern that I would ruin my already-pathetically-nearsighted vision. So, I stole the tiny "little sluggers" lamp from Matthew's nightstand and put that next to the broken lamp on my nightstand. That has been my reading lamp for the past year.

Around Christmastime, Paul finally took a good look at my broken lamp (about 9 months after it broke) and officially deemed it a lost cause. "We'll have to get you a new lamp!" he said.

Fast forward another five months to Mother's Day (aka yesterday). We were at the hardware store looking for plants for our yard when I decided to peruse the selection of lamp and lampshades. I found a base and a shade that looked nice and showed it to Paul. His reply: "Let's get it! You've been waiting for that lamp a long time!" (No Kidding)

Proud to be the mother of these two darlings.

We arrive home and in an uncharacteristically proactive moment, Paul takes the lamp upstairs to install on my nightstand. He removes the bulb from the broken lamp and twists it into the socket of the new lamp. He screws the shade onto the new lamp, plugs it into the outlet behind the dresser, and then slides the switch.

Nothing happens.

I begin to glare at Paul as he disassembles the new lamp and removes the bulb: "Do you mean...that this whole the time the lamp just needed a new light bulb?!"


Paul looked pretty sheepish as he got a new bulb, screwed it into the old "broken" lamp and then plugged it in. And the lamp illuminated the room. I am now the proud owner of two bedside lamps.

Did I mention my husband is an amazing, smart, intelligent engineer?

Ok, so he might have a little trouble replacing light bulbs, but Paul sure knows how to grill his wife a delicious meal for Mother's Day! A few days ahead of Mother's Day, Paul asked me what meal I would like him to make for dinner. I immediately thought of this Grilled Caprese Chicken. Paul had made this meal for me as a surprise last summer shortly after I had arrived back in Erie after a long car trip with both of the kids. It was so darn good that it immediately catapulted its way to the top of my list of "Favorite Meals."

As you can see in the pictures, Paul served it to me on the "special plate" for Mother's Day. He was so sweet to me all day long. The kids were kind of whiny and grumpy all day, but that's reality for you!

This is an easy, delicious, and healthy meal that does not take long to pull together. We serve it as a salad along with some homemade bruschetta atop toasted Italian bread. It is so delicious that I am looking forward to enjoying the leftovers tonight!

And, in Paul's defense, his fairly intelligent wife also could have figured out that the light bulb needed replacing! A sheepish moment for both of us, for sure!

Grilled Caprese Chicken with Arugula
adapted from Cook's Country

Note: The chicken breasts should be on the thinner side. Our chicken breasts are always huge, so we normally remove the tenderloin and then pound them to about 3/4" thickness.

1/4 cup table salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 quart water
4 chicken breasts, about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds (See Note Above)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch slices, halved, and patted dry
2 large tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices (make sure they are ripe but firm enough to hold shape on the grill)
6 ounces baby arugula
Combine the salt, sugar, and water with a whisk in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and place the bowl in the refrigerator to brine for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
In a small bowl, combine the basil, vinegar, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil until it is thoroughly incorporated. Transfer 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette to a bowl and toss in the fresh mozzarella pieces, coating the cheese with the vinaigrette. Set aside. Reserve the remaining vinaigrette for the cooked chicken.
Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel and season both sides with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken and tomatoes on a hot charcoal or gas grill until the chicken is browned and cooked through and the tomatoes are lightly charred, about 2-3 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of your chicken and heat of the grill). Transfer the cooked chicken to a platter. Top with the tomato slices and drizzle with the half of the reserved vinaigrette. Cover the chicken with an even layer of mozzarella and tent the platter loosely with foil. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes.
While the chicken rests, toss the arugula with the other half of the reserved vinaigrette. Add a little additional olive oil if desired and season with salt and pepper. Pile arugula onto individual plates and top with the chicken and any additional tomatoes. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Happy Mother's Day! Paul did a bangup job on the meal. I'll have to try that.