Bruschetta, or to some, “broo-sketta,” is one of those foods that’s just as fun to say as it is to eat. The delicious mixture of chopped juicy tomatoes, lemon juice, and strands of fresh basil—usually piled on top of bread—is pretty tough to beat. So our chefs decided to give it a delicious upgrade. This recipe swaps bread (which, let’s be honest, usually gets a bit soggy!) for golden, panko-and-mozzarella-coated chicken breasts. On the side, there’s creamy mashed potatoes studded with bits of crispy bacon and roasted asparagus tossed with bright lemon zest. One bite will transport you to the Italian countryside.
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Yukon Gold Potatoes
Adjust rack to top position and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and dry all produce. Dice potatoes into ½-inch pieces. Trim and discard woody bottom ends from asparagus. Microwave 1 TBSP butter (2 TBSP for 4 servings) in a medium microwave-safe bowl until melted, about 1 minute. Stir in mozzarella, panko, Italian Seasoning, salt, and pepper.
Lightly oil a baking sheet (or spray sheet with nonstick cooking spray). Pat chicken dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper and place on prepared sheet. Mound mozzarella crust onto tops of chicken, pressing firmly to adhere. Roast on top rack until crust is lightly browned, 10-15 minutes (we’ll add the asparagus then).
Meanwhile, place potatoes in a large pot with enough salted water to cover by 2 inches. Boil until tender, 15 minutes. Reserve ½ cup cooking water, then drain and return potatoes to pot. Cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, dry pan over medium-high heat. Cook, turning, until crispy, 4-6 minutes per side. Turn off heat; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
Once chicken has roasted 10-15 minutes, remove baking sheet from oven. Toss asparagus on other side of sheet with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. (For 4 servings, add asparagus to a second baking sheet and roast on middle rack.) Return to oven and roast until asparagus is tender and chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. TIP: For a deeply golden-brown crust on the chicken, broil for the last 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile, zest and quarter lemon. Finely dice tomato. Pick basil leaves from stems; discard stems and thinly slice leaves. In a small bowl, combine tomato, basil, juice from 2 lemon wedges (4 wedges for 4 servings), and a drizzle of olive oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Mash potatoes with 2 TBSP butter, adding reserved cooking water as needed, until smooth. Chop bacon into bite-sized pieces and stir half into mashed potatoes; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle asparagus with lemon zest (to taste). Divide potatoes, asparagus, and chicken between plates. Top chicken with bruschetta and potatoes with remaining bacon. Serve with remaining lemon wedges on the side.