This easy elegant dish is a crowd pleaser and perfect for a summer soire!
Courtney's Grilled Cutlets with Charred Tomato Checca
Why it's on our list
I am not the biggest fan of full size chicken breasts. I don't enjoy eating a huge thick breast and it can often be difficult to tell when they're done cooking if you don't make chicken on the regular. Unlike steak or some fish, you don't want the center of your chicken to be raw!
I've really grown to love using the thinly pounded chicken breast cutlets because they cook super quickly and are easy to find at the market already pounded. You can always get out a rolling and and beat those babies if you have full size breasts on hand, but I prefer to have it done for me by the butcher.
In my opinion chicken can be pretty boring unless fried but this recipe takes simple grilled chicken breasts and makes them not only extremely flavorful but beautiful and dinner party worthy! Combining roasted tomatoes with raw tomatoes makes this Checca so flavorful but still bright and fresh.
Traditional Italian Checca is made from raw tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil, and is typically used as "uncooked" pasta sauce. It is also delicious on top of toasted bread, better known as Bruschetta. However here at Hey Sis, we found another way to use this delicious, fresh topping but we've added our own little twist. Instead of using only raw tomatoes, we charr half of the tomatoes then combine with the fresh, adding garlic, basil and olive oil just like the traditional recipe. We found that the combination of tomatoes really makes the sauce more complex and flavorful, especially if you're a fan of charred vegetables, like we are. Italians might shun us for calling it Checca but I bet if they try it, they'd like it! What is really incredible about our Checca is it makes a lot and can be used for many other recipes. It can be a delicious substitute for fresh tomatoes on a Caprese sandwich, mixed into any salad, topped on a pizza or like the traditional recipe, as pasta sauce. Get creative!
Ingredients for Chicken Marinade
4-6 thinly pounded chicken breasts
1/2 lemon squeezed
2-3 cloves of garlic smashed
a few TBLS of olive oil
salt and pepper
Ingredients for Charred Tomato Checca
2 pints cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves torn
1 garlic clove minced
3 TLBS extra virgin olive oil
Place chicken breasts in a glass baking dish or ziplock bag. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Squeeze 1/2 a lemon and a few tablespoons of olive oil over chicken, then throw in smashed garlic cloves and combine. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for 30 minutes up to 2 hours.
Heat oven to broil. Place one pint of cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet. Salt and pepper making sure to be generous with the salt. Add a generous amount of olive oil and mix with fingers. Place tomatoes in oven and broil for 5 minutes. Check tomatoes to see if they are beginning to charr. With an oven mitt, shake tomatoes around. Return tomatoes to oven and continue to broil until tomatoes begin to charr. Depending on your oven, this could happen quickly so make sure to check on them every few minutes. Once they are charred to your liking, remove from oven and and let cool. We like to see a lot of black on ours but golden is lovely too!
Meanwhile, take the other pint of cherry tomatoes, remove stems and cut in half. In a mixing bowl, add raw tomatoes, minced garlic and basil. Once cooked tomatoes are cool enough, combine charred tomatoes and liquid from cooking with raw tomato mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. You should have plenty of liquid from the cooked tomatoes to form the sauce but if you need to add a bit more olive oil, feel free. You could also add a splash of balsamic vinegar if you desire.
Heat grill or grill pan. Once hot, grill marinated cutlets for 2-3 minutes a side. Remove from grill, top with tomato mixture and serve. Feel free to top with a little more fresh basil if you desire.
* This tomato Checca mixture is extremely versatile! We suggest using the leftovers to make a Caprese sandwich, pizza topping or add to a salad. You can also reheat the tomatoes and use as a pasta sauce.
Serve it up!
What did you do with your leftover Checca sauce? Send us a note!