Cast Iron

Seared Chicken Breasts with Cherry Tomato Pan Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella

August 15, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

I love the sweet, tart explosion of juice when you bite into a cherry tomato. But even more so than popping one into my mouth raw, I love what cherry tomatoes can do to a sauce, when they’re subjected to intense heat, and finally given in, blister, and pop. I use this idea to make a quick and easy pan sauce for simple seared chicken. With the addition of a little butter and fresh basil, the result is tart, sweet, and decadently savory. —PhoebeLapine

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2-3)
  • Sea Salt
  • Paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint assorted cherry tomatoes (I used mostly orange)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, torn into 1-inch pieces
  1. In a large cast iron skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season them generously on both sides with salt and paprika. Add the chicken to the pan and cook, lowering the heat to medium if your pan starts to smoke, until nicely browned on both sides and just pink in the middle, about 5 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and tent with foil.
  2. Add the remaining butter to the pan, along with the garlic and tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are beginning to burst, stirring occasionally and scraping up any brown bits of chicken from the bottom, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and sugar and using the back of your spoon, gently crush the tomatoes so they give up all their juices. Simmer the sauce for another 3 minutes until it’s thickened and the acidity has mellowed.
  3. Stir in the basil and taste for seasoning, adding more salt as necessary. Add the chicken back to the pan and dot the top with the mozzarella pieces. Remove from the heat, garnish with a few basil leaves, and serve immediately, family style.
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Phoebe is a writer, gluten-free chef, culinary instructor, award-winning blogger, and author of The Wellness Project. You can find her healthy comfort food and gluten-free finds on

3 Reviews

bdarsey August 19, 2014
this was great....used balsamic vinegar for sugar....AWESOME !
MB August 26, 2013
Made this tonight..fabulous! I used feta cheese instead of mozzarella but it was still great.
hardlikearmour August 15, 2011
This sounds really delicious.