I love to cook, but after a long day at work (9 hours on my feet!), the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time in the kitchen. And this summer, it's actually been too hot to do much grilling. So instead of sweating over a hot grill, I turn to my quick and simple recipes, such as Tyler Florence's Chicken Paillard. He writes:
I make this for dinner all the time. It's simple, easy to put together, and on the lighter side—perfect for a night when you want something delicious that's not too heavy. Pound the chicken between sheets of plastic wrap to keep your cutting board clean, and try to use organic, free-range chicken whenever you can.
I couldn't agree more! I discovered this favorite in the Tyler Florence Family Meal cookbook, which as previously noted, is a fantastic cookbook. There are wonderful blurbs and photos for each and every recipe, as well as anecdotes about Tyler's career as a chef in Mill Valley. I've made this particular recipe a few times and wasn't very impressed with the Creamy Parmesan Dressing, so instead, I've modified it to enjoy with a simple Caprese Salad. I usually wind up with an extra chicken breast, which is excellent diced up and served on top of a tossed green salad the following day for lunch.
Chicken Paillard with Salad Greens and Creamy Parmesan Dressing
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 8 ounces each
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying (I use olive oil)
Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and gently pound with a mallet or rolling pin to a uniform 1/2-inch thickness. (I use a large zip-lock bag rather than the plastic wrap.)
Prepare a breading station, placing the flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, in one shallow bowl; the eggs in another; and the panko (also seasoned liberally with salt and pepper—you should be able to see the seasonings) in a third.
Coat the chicken first in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the panko, shaking off the excess after each step.
Place the breaded breasts on a plate and refrigerate for 10 minutes or so to dry the crust; this will ensure there is less moisture in the coating and less chance it will crumble when you cook the chicken.
In a large skillet, heat 2 inches of olive oil (interesting that he says olive oil here, but not in the list of ingredients) to 350 degrees (F).
Add the chicken breasts and fry for 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
Transfer the breasts to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain, and season with salt and pepper.
To serve, place each warm, crispy chicken paillard on a plate and top with half the salad. Serve with a wedge of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.
As I mentioned above, I chose not to use the Creamy Parmesan Dressing (which you can find here, if you wish). I served a simple Caprese salad on the side, which is quite similar to Florence's salad of mixed greens, grape tomatoes and bocconcini (fresh mozzarella balls).
I don't use a recipe for my Caprese salad. However, Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman) has one that looks pretty much like what I make, although for this meal, I place the tomatoes and cheese on top of a bed of greens. Go here for PW's recipe.
Paillard is an older French culinary term referring to a quick-cooking, thinly sliced or pounded piece of meat. In France, it has been largely replaced by the word escalope. (Wikipedia)
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