A platter of Chicken with Tapenade and Tomato Basil Sauce garnished with fresh basil.

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Chicken with Tapenade and Tomato Basil Sauce is an easy summer recipe bursting with Mediterranean flavours.

In early summer I might make it to use my fresh basil, almost as soon as I’ve planted it. At the end of summer when Farmer’s Markets are brimming with fresh tomatoes I try to make this recipe again. I typically don’t make homemade tomato sauce but I will buy good quality sauce from a Farmer’s Market.

In my mind what makes this recipe easy is using ready-made tomato sauce. Adding fresh basil perks it up and the olive tapenade creates the flavours I’m looking for.

Olive Tapenade

If you don’t like olives I encourage you to try them again, in a different way. It took a six-week vacation in Europe for me to learn to love olives. I’m sure I never tasted, and maybe never even saw an olive, until I worked in a restaurant. And I didn’t like them. When I toured around France, Spain and Portugal I tasted many different olives and I learned to appreciate them.

Tapenade is a paste made of black olives and capers or anchovies, with a pleasant salty taste. It comes from the Provençal region of France where it’s often served on crackers or as a stuffing for chicken.

Olive tapenade wasn’t always easy to find but now it’s available in specialty food shops and European markets. Although the ingredients vary it should be naturally gluten free, just check the label. It can be called olive tapenade, olive paste or olive spread.

In this recipe I either spread it on each chicken breast or spoon some across the top just before serving. Once I have a jar of tapenade in my fridge I look for other ways to cook with it. Stir some into scrambled eggs with goat cheese and fresh chives or try it on pizza or in pasta.

Planting Fresh Herbs

The easiest way to ensure you have fresh basil when you want it is to simply plant it. Try a pot on your patio or different spots in your garden. Gardening requires patience to find the right spot for each plant to flourish. Of course the climate makes a difference and you need to water your plants. Yet it’s easy enough to grow fresh herbs and fun to enjoy them in your cooking!

Summer Entertaining

It’s easy to make this dish look impressive by slicing the chicken and laying it over the tomato sauce. People usually eat smaller portions when you do this but I actually do it because I like the look. We eat with our eyes first so I recommend you take an extra sip of wine and appreciate the presentation. Then dig in and you won’t be disappointed.

Let me know in the comments below if you tried this recipe and what you thought.


More Recipes Using Fresh Basil

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Ingredients

3-4 chicken breast halves
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups store bought tomato sauce
½ cup fresh basil, sliced thin
2-3 Tbsp olive tapenade
GARNISH – basil leaves

Directions

1
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
2
Heat oil in a sauté pan. Fry chicken until cooked through turning once, about 8 minutes total.
3
Let chicken rest for several minutes before slicing it or serve a half chicken breast per person.
4
While chicken is cooking heat tomato sauce and add basil.
5
Spoon tomato sauce onto each plate or a platter. Top with chicken. Dot olive tapenade on chicken and garnish with fresh basil.

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Ingredients

Directions

  • 3-4 chicken breast halves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups store bought tomato sauce
  • ½ cup fresh basil, sliced thin
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive tapenade
  • GARNISH – basil leaves
  1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a sauté pan. Fry chicken until cooked through turning once, about 8 minutes total.
  3. Let chicken rest for several minutes before slicing it or serve a half chicken breast per person.
  4. While chicken is cooking heat tomato sauce and add basil.
  5. Spoon tomato sauce onto each plate or a platter. Top with chicken. Dot olive tapenade on chicken and garnish with fresh basil.