Smoky Chicken Caprese
by Leonard Hollander, Chef, Arbor, Chicago, Illinois
Nothing says summer like a cool caprese salad; this recipe brings some smoky flavor to the table for an instant classic!
- 2 pounds boneless skinless Smart Chicken thighs
- ¼ cup tamari* (or substitute soy sauce)
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 tablespoon apple wood smoke powder** (or substitute 2 tablespoons liquid smoke)
- 1 cup water
- *Tamari imparts a richer, less salty flavor than soy sauce; it’s also great for dipping. Find tamari in the Asian foods section of most grocers.
- **Applewood smoke powder is a spice blend that imparts smoky flavor with a subtle sweetness. Buy it online, or in the spice aisle.
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound heirloom tomatoes, chopped
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 1 bunch fresh basil, chiffonade
For the chicken: Pat dry and transfer to a medium bowl. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the tamari, molasses, and smoke until emulsified. Pour mixture over chicken and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or up to 24.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 375°F. Rinse the chicken, pat it dry, and transfer to a baking dish. Transfer the dish, uncovered, to the preheated oven and cook for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F. Allow the chicken to cool. Using two forks, shred the chicken and set aside.
For the tomatoes: In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, grainy mustard, honey, and salt. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Add the chopped tomatoes to the vinaigrette and allow the mixture to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
To assemble: In a large bowl, toss the spinach with shredded basil and season lightly with salt. Drizzle spinach with some of the liquid that has pooled from the soaking tomatoes. Divide the salad evenly among 4 bowls, then top each with a quarter of the tomato mixture, a quarter of the chicken, and a quarter of the fresh mozzarella. Garnish with remaining basil.