Have I mentioned how much I love the fact it’s no longer winter? I love being able to spend more time outdoors and not have to worry about the cold. Or the snow. Ugh. “Not winter” also means cooking and dining al fresco happens more frequently- which is one of my favorite things about Spring. I also love all the fresh produce that comes with warmer weather too. Cotey recently planted some tomatoes on our back deck and while we won’t be seeing those guys produce for a while, it definitely got me thinking about all the ways we’d be able to use them once they were here. Salsa and pasta sauce will definitely happen, but my absolute favorite thing to make with fresh tomatoes is bruschetta. I mean, it combines such amazing flavors between fresh basil, garlic, and tangy balsamic vinegar. I can’t get enough of the stuff!
Anyway, since I couldn’t wait for our plants to produce tomatoes, I trekked to the grocery store and bought enough to make the year’s first batch of bruschetta. I wanted to make it more than an appetizer though so I bought some chicken breasts and buns to mimic a sandwich we have at my restaurant. These bruschetta chicken burgers turned out amazing! It was so fresh and just screamed springtime to me. If you love bruschetta, you’ll enjoy this twist on the ol’ classic. This recipe makes enough for three burgers, so double or triple as needed.
Three medium size tomatoes, diced
Three cloves garlic, minced
Leaves from three or four basil stems, chopped
Three ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
One tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Two tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup red onion, diced
Three boneless, skinless chicken breasts
One package of your favorite buns
Salt and pepper to taste
You’ll want to make your bruschetta first so it has time to sit before serving. Start by dicing your tomatoes and set aside in a medium sized bowl. Mince your garlic, chop your basil and cube up the fresh mozzarella cheese. You can add these ingredients to the same bowl with the tomatoes. Now you can add your olive oil and balsamic vinegar to the mix. We usually stock white balsamic vinegar in our house, which is why this recipe calls for it versus the traditional, darker version. However, you can use whatever kind you prefer. White balsamic vinegars are not aged as long as their darker counterparts, and they’re cooked at a higher pressure to avoid caramelization- this gives white balsamic vinegars a nice, golden color and a slightly lighter taste. Other than that, there’s really not much of a difference between them so use whichever version you like better. For presentation purposes though, the white balsamic is the way to go. Add some salt and pepper to taste and let chill in the fridge.
While that sits, we’ll move on to the chicken. Start by preheating your grill to medium-high heat. Next, pound the chicken breasts so it flattens them a little. This will make it much easier to eat. Season your chicken with some salt and pepper and throw it on the grill. Cook thoroughly, which comes out to about three to four minutes on each side. It’s also a nice touch to grill your buns too.
Now it’s time to assemble the burgers. Spread a little mayo on the bottom piece of your bun. Sprinkle some red onions on top, and add a piece or two of romaine lettuce. Place your chicken patty on top and then spoon a generous amount of bruschetta on top of that. And enjoy! We served ours with some french fries as well. Oh and I can’t forget the wine. A nice white wine will go extremely well with this dish. Yum!