Chicken Paillard With Arugula Salad
There are few fancy-pants French cooking terms I care to retain, but paillard is definitely one of them. It refers to a piece of meat that's been pounded thinly and then grilled. It's one of the more approachable, and less complex, food preparations everyone should have in their repertoire. You can use this same technique to prepare chicken thighs as in my recipe below, chicken breasts or essentially any protein you'd prefer broken down a bit.
One of the benefits to the paillard approach is how many options you have after you've got a thinly pounded piece of protein in front of you. My sons love to stuff and roll the meat with their favorite fillings, which usually involve a take on pesto. I personally prefer to cook my thinned meat skin-on in piping hot olive oil until the skin is extra crispy. Another perk about chicken paillard is that pounding usually tenderizes the meat enough so that you don't even need a marinade. In my Chicken Paillard With Arugula Salad, I chose to marinade nonetheless, as I feel you can never add too much flavor to a springtime chicken dish.
Thinning meat gives the appearance of stretching serving quantity. This time of year, when we have the boys in and out of the house with sports and teammates over at unannounced times for dinner, I need all the meat I can get to satisfy these hungry teenagers. If your family sounds at all similar, I know you'll absolutely love this quick and easy dish.
Mario Batali is the award-winning chef behind 24 restaurants, including Eataly, DelPosto and his flagship Greenwich Village enoteca, Babbo.
Chicken Paillard with Arugula Salad
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
For the marinade:
1⁄2 bunch parsley
1⁄2 bunch thyme
1⁄2 bunch rosemary
1⁄2 cup apple cider
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the chicken and salad:
4 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs, pounded thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3⁄4 cup (divided)
1⁄2 cup orange juice
1⁄2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1⁄2 tablespoon black-olive paste
1⁄2 pound arugula
1⁄4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
To prepare the marinade: Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a baking dish. Add the chicken and season it with salt. The chicken can marinate for up to 8 hours (overnight).
Heat a grill pan on medium-high heat.
Drizzle the grill pan with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and place the chicken skin side down. Place a brick on top of the chicken (see note). When the skin is crisp, after about 4 minutes, flip the chicken over to finish, for 4 to 5 minutes.
Season the chicken with a pinch more salt.
While the chicken cooks, heat the orange juice in a saucepan over high heat until it is reduced by two-thirds, for about 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer the juice to a bowl and whisk in the Dijon mustard and black-olive paste until well combined. Whisk in 3⁄4 cup of extra virgin olive oil until emulsified. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Toss the arugula with one tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
To serve, split the arugula salad among 4 plates, add a whole sun-dried tomato to each, place a piece of chicken on top and drizzle with vinaigrette.
Note: Especially if you don't know where your brick has been, it's a good idea to wash it and wrap it well in aluminum foil.
Makes 4 servings.