Chicken recipe is light but full of flavor

CHICKEN PICANTE WITH PROSCIUTTO (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

My mother’s southern Italian cooking is rustic and fiery, with recipes often calling for sweet tomatoes and hot peppers, the perfect ingredients for an authentic sauce.

Since one of my mom’s favorite dishes is baked Chicken Parmesan in a marinara sauce, I decided to wow her for Mother’s Day with a modern take on this nostalgic dish that is light and healthful.

I keep it simple with grilled chicken breasts topped with my version of an Italian salsa. The combination of a poblano pepper with grape tomatoes, kalamata olives and extra-virgin olive oil makes for a colorful and vibrant presentation.

Plus, this uncomplicated dish will give you a chance to mingle with your guests and not wish someone would help you wash the pots and pans — because there won’t be any!


Makes four servings


  • 4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 5 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 slices prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • 10 ounces sweet grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1⁄3 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Poblano pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • For Garnish
  • Radicchio di Treviso
  • Mixed greens
  • Freshly chopped basil

Step 1: Heat the outdoor grill or use a grill pan on your stovetop. Step 2: Rub chicken breasts with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt. Grill chicken for about 12 to 15 minutes on each side, or until chicken is cooked through.

Step 3: When chicken is cool to the touch, wrap each breast with one slice of prosciutto. Place the chicken on a dish and tent with foil.

Step 4: In a large bowl, combine grape tomatoes, olives, onions, peppers, lemon juice and garlic. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and salt. Lightly toss.

Step 5: Layer a serving tray with radicchio di Treviso leaves and mixed greens. Place chicken on top of the green, side by side.

Step 6: Spread the tomato mixture over the top. Garnish with basil. Serve with a French baguette and a chilled rose.

*This story by Maria Desiderata Montana first appeared in the U-T San Diego.