Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pounding chicken breasts into paillards - a way to beat stress, and create a lovely grilled dish

Quick, delicious grilled chicken that’s easy enough for a weeknight but simply elegant enough for a low-key dinner party – who can argue with that?
   That’s what you get with Herbed Grilled Chicken Breasts (click for the recipe) from Fine Cooking magazine.
   It was a flash to make, yet produced terrific results: Chicken that was juicy and flavorful, thanks to the simple combination of fresh herbs, lemon juice and olive oil.
   It would be lovely with a simple salad and grilled bread.
   This recipe involves making chicken paillards, flat pieces of chicken about ¼-inch thick. It’s an absolute cinch to do at home: You pound chicken breasts in between pieces of plastic wrap with a meat pounder or skillet. It’s a great task if you have some stress you’d like to release.
   It’s the fact the chicken is pounded thinly that allows it to cook more quickly on the grill, ensuring that supper is just around the corner.
   After the chicken breasts are pounded into paillards, they are seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes – skip these if you don’t like a lot of heat.
   Minced garlic and chopped fresh rosemary are sprinkled on both sides, then comes a drizzling of lemon juice and olive oil.
   My husband did the sprinkling and drizzling of the chicken in a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish. It made all sprinkling and drizzling tasks easier, then we just popped the paillards into the fridge for 20 minutes as directed before grilling.
   The paillards are cooked on the grill, about two minutes per side. They are served with lemon wedges, so diners can squeeze more lemon juice on their pallaird if they prefer. We skipped the part about drizzling the paillards with more oil before serving.

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