Paillard is the definition of a quick prep, quick cook, juicy piece of chicken breast. A little bit of pounding makes it thinner, and once cooked you'll avoid the dry and tasteless character often associated with chicken's white meat. Serve with a swipe of French tapenade, a traditional Provençal olive spread, and a side of Tuscan Panzanella salad. You'll enjoy a gorgeous weekday meal in less than half an hour.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 to 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp Lemon olive oil + 1 tbsp Sicilian white balsamic
1 cup fresh arugula, rinsed and dried
Place chicken breasts on a cutting board. Using a sharp chefs knife, cut breast in half across, starting at the fleshier part of the breast and leaving the two sides slightly connected. When opened it should be heart-shaped and the depth should be fairly uniform across both sides. Place the breast between two sheets of plastic wrap and lightly pound to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Transfer to a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. In a measuring cup, place Lemon oil and balsamic. Whisk until creamy. Remove plastic from breasts. Season on both sides with salt and pepper, then drizzle generously with Lemon mixture. Rub into meat. Repeat each step with remaining breast.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat large skillet on medium-high and coat bottom with extra virgin olive oil. When hot, place one chicken breast top side down. Cook for 2 minutes or until lightly browned, and edges are golden. Turn over and cook an additional 2 minutes. Transfer breasts to a clean parchment lined baking sheet, darker side up. Place in oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes to retain juices. Serve with fresh arugula and a French Olive Tapenade. Drizzle extra Lemon oil and balsamic for garnish.
* Inspired by David Tanis, NYTimes Cooking