This Tuscan Chicken recipe is summer in a skillet! It’s made with juicy, succulent Italian seasoned chicken, charred sweet corn, tender-crisp zucchini, bursting cherry tomatoes, and aromatic basil and garlic. The caramelized sweet corn with the fresh zucchini and juicy, sweet tomatoes is absolutely hypnotic. The whole skillet comes together in less than 40 minutes with only a 20-minute cook time. Keep this Tuscan Chicken naturally gluten free and low carb or serve it with brown rice, mashed potatoes and breadsticks.
Servings 4 -6 servings
15 Minute Wet Rub Marinade
- 3 tablespoon olive oil divided (for chicken & veggies)
- 2 ears fresh corn cut off the cob (may sub 2 cups frozen sweet corn)
- 2 zucchini quartered lengthwise, cut 1/2-inch thick
- 1 yellow summer squash quartered lengthwise, cut 1/2-inch thick
- 12 oz. cherry tomatoes
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup loosely packed basil shredded or chopped
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella balls optional
Whisk together all of the Marinade ingredients in a medium bowl or large sealable bag. Remove 3 tablespoons to use later. Add chicken to marinade stir to evenly coat; let marinate at room temperature while you prep the veggies, preferably 15-30 minutes (may refrigerate up to 2 hours then let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before cooking).
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add chicken and cook 3-4 minutes or until golden, flip over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook 4-6 minutes (depending on thickness) or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to plate and tent with foil.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil to the now empty skillet over high heat. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn starts to char, approximately 3 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-high and add zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, reserved 3 tablespoons marinade and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook an additional 3-5 minutes or until zucchini reach desired crisp-tenderness.
Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil and mozzarella. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste if desired. Serve chicken with vegetables.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- Use even chicken breasts. Pound the chicken halves to an even thickness so they cook evenly. This way you can remove them the second they're done instead of waiting for the thicker side to cook at the peril of the thinner side.
- Corn: please use fresh sweet corn for the very best results – it is SO sweet and juicy. My second choice would be frozen sweet corn. No need to thaw, simply add to the hot skillet and allow a couple extra minutes to char.
- Melted mozzarella. I’ve added mozzarella snacking balls at the end of cooking so they remain cheesy balls of YUM, but you can swap them for freshly grated mozzarella or sliced mozzarella that you add directly over the chicken or blanket the entire skillet and melt.
- Add-ins. You can add artichokes, olives, capers, roasted bell peppers, chickpeas, pine nuts or sliced almonds.
- Don't overcook chicken. Chicken, especially chicken breasts, are juiciest when not overcooked. The best and most efficient way to check for doneness is to insert a meat thermometer into the chicken; chicken breasts are done when they register 165 degrees.
- Don’t over-marinate. The wet rub contains acid in the form of lemon juice and balsamic vinegar with little olive oil, so you don’t want to marinate the chicken for too long or the acid can break down the chicken and make it mushy. Marinate only for two hours at most.
- Use a cast-iron skillet. Use a large 12-inch cast iron skillet so you can brown the chicken and cook the vegetables in the same pan. The golden bits from browning the chicken infuse the skillet dinner with a depth of rich, complex flavor that cannot be achieved any other way.
- Bursting tomatoes. You can cook the skillet as long as you like. I cooked mine until the tomatoes were on the verge of bursting (with a few burst), but you can cook the skillet longer if you want more bursting tomatoes. The timing can vary depending on the size of your tomatoes. Just take care not to cook too long or your zucchini will suffer.
- Salt and pepper to taste. You will likely need to season the vegetables with additional salt and pepper to taste, so be prepared to amp up the flavor to your perfection.
HOW TO PREP AHEAD
This Tuscan Chicken is a very quick chicken dinner, but you can still save some time by prepping some of the elements ahead:
- Cut chicken: chicken can be sliced in half to create cutlets and the cutlets an be pounded to an even thickness. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.
- Marinate chicken: the chicken cutlets can be marinated in the refrigerator for up to two hours ahead of time. Bring to room temperature by setting on the counter for 20 minutes before cooking.
- Chop veggies: the corn can be cut off of the cobs and the zucchini and squash can be chopped and stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Store corn separately from the zucchini/squash because it will cook first.
HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT
When reheating Tuscan Chicken, I recommend thinly slicing the chicken first to it reheats evenly without overcooking and becoming dry or rubbery.
- Storage: Tuscan Chicken should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When stored properly, it is good for up to four days.
- Microwave: Transfer to a microwave safe plate and microwave for 1 minute followed by 20 second intervals until heated through.
- Stove: Sizzle olive in a skillet and add Tuscan Chicken. Heat over medium low until warmed through.