Herbed Grilled Chicken Paillards. “Qu’est-ce que c’est un paillard?” you ask. Paillard (pronounced pie-yard) is the French term for a boneless chicken breast or other cut of meat that’s been pounded into broad, thin sheets about 1/4″ thick.
In my post about Tuscan Grilled Chicken, Sausage & Sage Skewers, I refer to the now coverless Grilling issue of Fine Cooking and say that, in addition to the skewers, we like to make these paillards. They are delicious, quick and easy and one of our all-time “go-to” recipes. But one of the things we really like about making paillards is just saying, “paillard”. And saying it in a very overly exaggerated French accent, with a very heavy emphasis on the “d”. As in “pie-yar-D(uh).”
I think we’ve had these with just about every salad on the blog. Just the other night it was the Kale & Brussels Sprouts Salad. Grill a few extra paillards and you’ll have chicken for Fiesta Chicken Salad.
And let me know if you become compelled to say “pie-yar-D(uh).”
Herbed Grilled Chicken Paillards
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each), trimmed and rinsed
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
crushed red chile flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, flat-leaf parsley, or other fresh herb
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 4 lemon wedges for serving
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling
Lightly wet a chicken breast with cold water and set it between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound it into a broad, flat sheet about 1/4-inch thick (called a paillard), using a meat pounder, the side of a heavy cleaver, a rolling pin, or a skillet. Pound the other breasts into paillards the same way and arrange them on a baking sheet.
Generously season each paillard on both sides with salt and pepper and a pinch or two of chile flakes. Sprinkle both sides with the garlic and rosemary. Drizzle both sides with the lemon juice and olive oil and pat into the meat with your fingertips.
Refrigerate the paillards for 20 minutes while you prepare the grill.
Heat a gas grill to high or prepare a hot charcoal fire. Brush and oil the grill grate.
Arrange the paillards on the grill grate and grill until cooked and firm to the touch, 1 to 2 minutes per side. (use a long, wide spatula to move and turn the paillards.) Transfer the paillards to a platter or plates. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately with lemon wedges for squeezing.