Beyond the Paillard

By Angela Denstad Stigeler

Whether you call them cutlets, schnitzel, scallopini or paillards, thin cuts of meat make for practical weeknight meals. They’re fast, hard to overcook and allow you to scale back the serving size to a figure-friendly portion without seeming like you’re skimping. Since the meat (in this case, chicken) is pounded thin, you get a whole plate-filling piece, seasoned throughout, that makes for an excellent company-worthy meal. I like to coat mine with fresh herbs and top them with any garden greens available. Whether you make them for yourself or serve them to guests, you’ll find it’s simply beyond the pale how easy this elegant meal can be.

 

Grilled Chicken Paillards with Herbs and Fresh Greens

 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each), trimmed

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons each fresh parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, chopped

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

4 cups mixed salad greens

4 lemon wedges, for serving

 

Rinse the chicken and place one breast in a gallon-sized zip-top bag, sealing out as much air as possible. Using the flat side of a meat mallet or a small, heavy skillet, pound the chicken out to form thin paillards, about 1/4 inch-thick. Pound out the remaining chicken breasts to form paillards and place them on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Season each side well with salt and pepper.

Combine the red pepper flakes (if using), garlic, herbs, lemon juice and ¼ cup olive oil in a small bowl and brush liberally over one side of the chicken.

Prepare a grill for high heat and, when ready, arrange the paillards herbed-side down on the grill and brush the remaining herb mixture onto the top sides of the chicken. Cook until firm to the touch, about 2 minutes per side.

Transfer the paillards to a serving platter, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with the lemon wedges. Top individual servings with a generous handful of salad greens.

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