Chicken Breasts Caprese with Ham

September 29, 2010 · 21 comments

filed in: Chicken/Poultry,Dairy,Gluten-Free,Main Courses,Vegetables

Chicken Breasts Caprese with Ham

Autumn is rumored to have arrived in the northern hemisphere, but I’ve seen no sign of it yet at my Florida home. Here the temperature still hovers in the upper 80s F., as it has done for months. Shorts and tank tops are still de rigueur. And quickly cooked dishes that won’t heat up the kitchen, such as this one, are still on the menu at my house.

This recipe combines the flavors of two much loved dishes — chicken cordon bleu and caprese salad — into one package. From chicken cordon bleu, I’ve borrowed the idea of boneless chicken breasts filled with layers of ham (or prosciutto) and cheese. And to this filling I’ve added the fresh tomatoes, basil, and splash of balsamic vinegar that are hallmarks of caprese salad. The only slightly fussy thing about this dish is that it calls for the chicken breasts to be thinned by pounding, instructions for which are shown below. Pre-made chicken breast paillards, as these are called, are also available in many grocery stores and butcher shops if you prefer to skip this step.


4 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 thin slices of ham or prosciutto (I use the latter)
16 or more fresh basil leaves
3 ripe plum tomatoes, cored and cut across into thin slices
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch sticks
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons good quality balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled


  1. Rinse each chicken breast, place it on a cutting board skin (smooth) side down, cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap, and pound it evenly to a 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet, rolling pin, or the base of cast iron skillet. A brief video of this process is shown at CookingGuide. Sprinkle each breast with salt and pepper.
  2. With each chicken breast still skin side down, layer on, in order, the ham (or prosciutto), basil leaves, sliced tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese, dividing these ingredients equally among the four breasts and leaving a one-inch margin of uncovered chicken around the edges. Brush each breast with about 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, tuck in the short ends of each breast, and roll them up jelly roll fashion. Secure the seam of each breast with a toothpick or tie it with kitchen string.
  3. Pour the olive oil into a large frying pan and place the pan on a medium-high heat burner. When hot, add the garlic cloves and chicken breasts, quickly browning the latter on all sides. Turn down the heat to medium-low, add one tablespoon of water, cover the pan, and continue to cook the breasts (turning them occasionally) for approximately 10-15 minutes or until the chicken juices run clear. Remove the garlic cloves and discard.
  4. Transfer the breasts to a serving platter and slice them as shown in the photo above.
  5. Stir the remaining pan drippings, which should measure about 1/4 cup. If needed, reduce the sauce by boiling on high or by adding a bit more water to reach this amount. Taste the sauce; correct the seasoning as needed by adding additional salt, pepper, and/or balsamic vinegar; and drizzle it over the chicken. Serves 4-6.

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{ 19 them below or add one }

MaxiaSev January 23, 2012 at 11:07 am

Hi!! That looks delicious! I thinking of making it for my mom’s birthday this Sunday, but I don’t have any idea of what to cook as side dish. Do you have any recommendations?

Thanks for your time.



Barbara January 23, 2012 at 8:38 pm

This main course would work well with any of your favorite side dishes for roast chicken. The last time I made this recipe, I served it with risotto and buttered asparagus. A simple pasta or pilaf along with any other green vegetable would also be a good combination.


Fight the Fat Foodie October 14, 2010 at 6:03 pm

What a beautiful dish!


Lana @ Never Enough Thyme October 2, 2010 at 7:40 am

What a great idea, Barbara, combining the elements of two classic recipes into one fabulous one! And a quite elegant one as well. Well done!


Glenn October 1, 2010 at 10:52 am

I’m a big cordon bleu fan and this is an great variation, particularly the tomatoes – very nice and I’ll be making this soon-


Angie October 1, 2010 at 8:55 am

These look amazing! I have been wanting to make these, but haven’t got around to it. I love your version.


Amanda October 1, 2010 at 8:22 am

This looks so good Barbara, I bet it tasted amazing. I LOVE chicken in just about every form!


A Canadian Foodie September 30, 2010 at 11:49 pm

Don’t you feel so proud of yourself when you see this gorgeous dish that YOU made ALL BY YOURSELF? It is restaurant perfect. I had a similar dish served to me when I was judging a chef cook off. It was delicious. Thanks for the detailed step-by-step. You have given me courage to try it myself.


marla {family fresh cooking} September 30, 2010 at 10:46 pm

I have decided I need to live with you…or at least near you so I can indulge in all of your wonderful recipes. This chicken looks great-it is always so fun to roll it and stuff with goodies.


Barbara October 2, 2010 at 8:13 am

Thanks Marla, and stop by anytime. Let me warn you though: your surfing career would be over here on the Florida gulf coast. We get dinky little waves, except when hurricanes are nearby, but at least they’re warm!


Kelsey/TheNaptimeChef September 30, 2010 at 8:58 pm



Megan September 30, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Ohhh, Barbara, this is beautiful. I would love to serve this to company. What a show stopper! And no cream!


Barbara September 30, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Thanks Megan. Adding a tablespoon of cream would actually be a great addition to the sauce here. However, after my chocolate bourbon tart of a couple of weeks ago, I still feel the need to lighten up!


Suzanne September 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Absolutely PRIMO! Stuffing a chicken breast with “goodies” is the best was for MM to actually love a chicken dish. Otherwise, not so much. He is going to love this for sure! And so am I. Beautiful presentation, too! I just love getting new posts from you! You inspire me!!


Arnold September 29, 2010 at 11:57 pm

This is stunning. If I had some fresh basil I would have made this right now. This recipe combines all my favourite ingredients. Thanks a lot for this.


Cookin' Canuck September 29, 2010 at 11:47 pm

What a pretty dish! I am also willing autumn to arrive, but Mother Nature simply isn’t cooperating. I really can’t think of a better combination than prosciutto, basil, and tomatoes.


Barbara Bakes September 29, 2010 at 11:34 pm

What a great combination of flavors!


Katrina September 29, 2010 at 7:49 pm

That looks SO good.


Mags September 29, 2010 at 6:54 pm

This looks so elegant and perfect for entertaining.


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