Puff Pastry is one of my absolute favorite foods. The buttery flakiness is addicting... and versatile! You can make it into a sweet breakfast pastry, fill it with sandwich fixins' for lunch, wrap around a wheel of brie for an amazing appetizer or create multiple puff-pastry-based dishes for a decadent dinner. Or, as I've done here, you can fix up a simple, delicious and easy dish that your entire family will love!
I've used some simple ingredients in this dish, several of which are a staple in my home. Fresh basil is easy to grow and great to have on hand. Pesto is easy to make and freezes well, and is a great way to use all that basil that you grew and didn't have time to eat! Balsamic vinegar is a wonderful pantry staple - it's perfect to use with olive oil as a fast homemade salad dressing, or to reduce as in this recipe for a sweeter and more complex flavor.
This recipe is based on the traditional Insalata Caprese in Italian cuisine - which literally means "Salad of Capri" or "Salad in the style of Capri." It revolves around three simple ingredients - fresh mozzarella, basil and tomato. I've taken that side dish and made it the star of the meal. I hope you love this as much as my family and I do!
Chicken Puff Pastry Caprese
- 2 sheets puff pastry (store bought - found in the freezer section, generally near the pie crusts)
- 3-4 Tbsp fresh pecan pesto (see recipe below - or in a pinch, you can purchase pre-made)
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and pulled apart with a fork
- 9 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut in 1/4" slices
- 3 med. Roma tomatoes
- 1-2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- fresh ground pepper
- Balsamic reduction (see recipe below)
1. Thaw puff pastry according to directions on package. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut tomatoes in 1/4" slices. Salt each side and set aside. This will draw out extra moisture for better baking. Pat mozzarella slices with a clean towel to remove extra moisture, lightly salt and set aside.
3. Remove pastry sheets from the fridge. Using a rolling pin, roll each sheet to appr. 12x16-inches.
4. To assemble: Place one sheet of puff pastry on parchment-lined flat sheet pan. Spread 3-4 Tbsp. pesto on the pastry sheet, leaving a 1-inch border. Stagger mozzarella slices, leaving at least 1/2-inch between slices (see pic). Add chicken evenly across the top of the cheese and pesto. Carefully place the 2nd sheet of puff pastry on top. Score the top sheet appr. 1-inch from border, then press the edges of the two sheets together with a fork. This will create a nice fluffy perimeter crust. Poke several vent holes in the top of the pastry with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape while cooking.
Pat dry your tomato slices. Using the scoring as your new border, stagger the slices on top of the pastry, covering the entire region within the scoring. Dust with grated parmesan and freshly ground pepper. Place in oven for 30-40 minutes, or until top of pastry and crusts are golden brown and tomatoes are nicely roasted.
While baking, prepare the Balsamic reduction according to the recipe below.
Cut into 9 pieces and drizzle 1 tsp. of Balsamic reduction over top of each. Serve with a side of fresh greens. Enjoy!
- 3 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 3/4 cup whole pecans, toasted
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- Good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 2 c Balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp honey
- pinch of freshly ground pepper (I prefer white pepper, but you can use whichever type is your favorite)