Cook slow by Dean Edwards
Back to work and in need of a speedy supper? Masterchef finalist and TV chef Dean Edwards' Caprese Chicken Melt will do nicely, thank you.
Yes, yes, I know the book is called Cook Slow but actually you can whizz up Dean Edwards’ Caprese chicken melt pretty damn sharpish, so we decided it would qualify as a speedy supper! It’s ideal for those midweek dinners when you are devoid of time/energy/imagination and sure makes a welcome change from pasta and pesto in my house.
You might recognise Dean from his regular cookery appearances on ITV’s Lorraine and This Morning. He used to be a digger driver, no less, but his love of cooking took him to second place on BBC’s Masterchef Goes Large in 2006 and he hasn’t looked back since.
Caprese Chicken Melt
Something magical happens when you roast tomatoes – the already sweet tomatoes start to dry out and the flavour intensifies tenfold. This recipe is based on one of my favourite dishes, the Caprese salad of tomato, mozzarella and basil. I’m not quite sure how these three humble ingredients can be such an incredible taste sensation when eaten together, but I’m not going to complain. You can put all the ingredients uncooked into your slow cooker for ease, but I like to start the process in a pan because I find that the tomatoes release too much liquid into the pot.
1–2 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken breasts, skin on
1 red onion, thinly sliced
200 g (7 oz) baby plum tomatoes,
1 x 150 g (5½ oz) ball of mozzarella,
1 small ciabatta roll, torn into chunks
Small bunch of basil, shredded
Salt and pepper
4 teaspoons olive oil
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon runny honey
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Crisp side salad
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4.
2 Heat the oil in a large shallow ovenproof pan set over a medium to high heat.
Add the chicken breasts, skin side down, and cook for 3–4 minutes, until
golden. Remove from the pan, then pop in the onion and tomatoes, reduce
the heat and cook for a few minutes.
3 Add the chicken breasts back in, season with salt and pepper and transfer
to the oven. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
4 While the chicken is in the oven, whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey and
garlic for the dressing. Remove the pan from the oven, then pour over the
dressing. Place the slices of mozzarella on the chicken breasts, season with
a little more pepper and scatter in the torn ciabatta. Return to the oven and
cook for a further 10 minutes, until the chicken has cooked through.
5 Before serving, scatter over the fresh basil. Serve with some sauté potatoes
and a crisp salad on the side.
NB: If you have more time, you can bung it in your slow cooker for 4.5 hours for a somewhat less speedy but equally tasty supper.