Paillard is the French word for a thin slice of meat that cooks quickly. This recipe is an easy way to make a chicken paillard without much pounding.
FOR THE TAPENADE:
- 1 cup pitted Niçoise olives
- 4 anchovy fillets
- 3 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 tablespoon capers, well rinsed
- 3 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
FOR THE CHICKEN:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 8 ounces each
- Salt and pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped thyme, plus a few sprigs
- 8 wide strips of lemon zest, from 1 medium lemon
- 5 ounces wild arugula (about 4 handfuls)
- A piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino Romano, for shaving
- Lemon wedges
1. Make the tapenade: In the bowl of a food processor, place olives, anchovy, garlic, capers, parsley, orange zest, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. Pulse several times to make a rough paste, then scrape downsides of the bowl and purée for about 30 seconds more. Alternatively, use a knife to finely chop ingredients, transfer them to a bowl and stir in the olive oil. You should have about 1 cup of tapenade, more than you need for this recipe.
2. Prepare the chicken: Working one at a time, lay chicken breast on a sturdy cutting board. With a sharp, thin-bladed knife, cut the breast horizontally in half, almost, but not completely. Open the breast like a book; it will be a heart-shaped piece of meat. Lay the breast between two resealable plastic bags and lightly pound the breast to 3/8- to 1/2-inch thickness. Don’t pound too hard, or the meat may tear. When all breasts are ready, transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet in one layer.
3. Season each breast on both sides with salt and pepper and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle with chopped thyme, and rub the seasoning into the meat, coating evenly with oil. Scatter thyme sprigs and lemon zest strips over. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
4. Set the oven to 400 degrees. Put a large skillet over medium-high heat, and lightly coat the bottom with olive oil. When oil is hot, lay two chicken breasts top-side down in a skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn over and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer breasts to a clean baking sheet, browned side up. Repeat with the other breasts.
5. Bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes, until firm to the touch. Remove from the oven, keep warm and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove and discard thyme sprigs and lemon zest strips.
6. Put the arugula in a bowl, and dress very lightly with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place a handful of dressed greens on each of four plates. Place cooked paillards alongside. Smear 1 tablespoon tapenade across the surface of each breast. With a vegetable peeler, shave some cheese over an arugula. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.
Source: The Newyork Times