It's a Keeper: Chicken Paillard

This is my "what should I make for dinner?" recipe. When I have no idea what to make, I usually make this. It is a recipe for Chicken Paillard, which I guess is a typical french bistro dish. The first time I saw that gravy goes over salad greens, I was skeptical, but it really is an excellent dish. This recipe is in 30 Minute Meals 2 with two other recipes to make a meal, Roquefort, Pear and Walnut Toasts and Citrus White Wine Spritzer, both of which I usually make when I prepare the Chicken Paillard. This one is especially good in the summer because of the fresh lemon taste. Here is the recipe with my comments in brackets:

4 small whole chicken breasts or 2 large* [I avoid the whole pounding thing described in the asterisked section below by buying thin chicken cutlets at the store].
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, plus 2 tablespoons
4 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped and finely chopped, about 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley, a handful
1 lemon zested and juiced
Coarse salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
1 sack, 5 ounces, mixed baby salad greens, available in produce section

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Arrange the chicken in a shallow baking dish [I just use a plate so I can throw it in the dishwasher] and drizzle meat with extra-virgin olive oil to just coat the chicken, about 1 1/2 tablespoons, total. Combine chopped herbs and lemon zest and sprinkle over the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Using your hands, rub the chicken and coat evenly with the herbs and seasonings. Wash hands with hot water and soap. Using tongs, transfer chicken in a single layer to hot skillet and cook chicken cutlets 3 or 4 minutes on each side. [Don't touch the chicken for a least a couple minutes after you put it in there, otherwise, it will tear]. Cover cooked chicken loosely with foil to keep warm and repeat with remaining cutlets.
Return pan to heat and add butter. When the butter melts, add flour to the butter and cook, stirring with whisk, a minute or 2 to make a light roux. Whisk in chicken broth. When broth thickens to just coat the back of a spoon, remove pan from heat and turn off burner.

Toss salad greens with lemon juice and coarse salt. Drizzle 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil around the bowl and re-toss greens.

To serve, cover the bottom of a dinner plate with warm sauce. Top with a small pile of salad greens and 2 chicken cutlets.

*sprinkle a little water in four medium size resealable food storage baggies, place 1 chicken breast in each bag and seal it up pushing out excess air. Using the bottom of a heavy pot or pan, pound each breast until flat but not so much that it wants to bust out of the bag. Lay these down flat in your freezer. Next time you are having a hunger attack, remove your prepared chicken paillard from the freezer placing in a large bowl in the sink. Turn on the cold water over the bowl in a slow steam, you will be amazed how fast they will defrost. Once defrosted remove the bags from the water, pat them dry and with a knife or scissors cut open 2 connecting sides of the bag, and they are ready for you to prepare as per recipe directions.


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