Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chicken Paillard with Tomatoes, Fennel and Olives

Let me first explain what a paillard is, so you won't be intimidated by this recipe. Paillard is an older term referring to the quick cooking of thinly sliced/thinly pounded pieces of meat. So there you go, don't be afraid!

This recipe was suggested by my friend Carrie. I've only gotten to hang out with her once, but I think we are cooking soul mates. We like the same chefs, and a lot of the same foods. She and my husband went to high school together in California, where she still lives (lucky). Hopefully we'll get to cook together someday soon, but until then we'll just keep suggesting recipes and restaurants to each other :)

This recipe hails from esteemed Chef Eric Ripert, although I didn't realize that until I began writing this post. As soon as I saw the title: Chicken Paillard with Tomatoes, Fennel and Olives, I was hooked. I read the ingredient list, and decided I was making it for dinner that night. This recipe features thin chicken cutlets, tomatoes, shallots, garlic, fennel, green olives, raisins soaked in wine, capers, toasted pine nuts, thyme, olive oil, basil and parsley. It's also quick to throw together, you just combine all of the ingredients, put that mixture on top of the chicken and bake for 15-20 minutes. 

I paired this chicken with roasted potatoes (I threw them in the oven for 15 minutes while I prepped the chicken) and green beans. I fell in love with this chicken. Each ingredient speaks for itself. I mean, you can literally taste each ingredient, each one shines through and the flavors come together beautifully and perfectly. It's lite, sweet, acidic, tart, garlicky and creamy all at the same time. My husband thought this was flavorful, and loved this dish as well. As I'm writing about it, I'm trying to keep myself from going into the fridge and eating the leftovers. It's.That.Good. 

I did change two things in this recipe. I used canned diced tomatoes because that's what I had on hand. I just made sure to drain them well first. I also planned on using dried thyme, but when I got home from the store, I saw that I was out, so I just omit it altogether. The recipe did not suffer, it was still amazing! I will try it next time though. I'm already thinking about when I can make this again...

The inspiration for this chicken paillard recipe came after a visit to the olive orchards of Castello di Fonterutoli in Chianti, Italy. Topped with tomatoes and herbs, fennel, pine nuts and capers, it is reflective of the kinds of ingredients commonly found in that region of Italy.

4 skinless boneless chicken
   breasts, butterflied and lightly
   pounded flat
½ cup shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomatoes, peeled, seeded
   and diced
¾ cup thinly sliced fennel
½ cup green olives, pitted and
¼ cup raisins, soaked in white
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons capers
4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons basil julienne
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- fine sea salt and freshly
   ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450° F.

Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a lightly greased baking dish.

Combine together in a mixing bowl the shallots, garlic, tomatoes, fennel, green olives, raisins, pine nuts, capers, and thyme leaves. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cover the chicken with the tomato, fennel and olive mixture and drizzle a little more olive oil over and around the paillards. Bake the chicken in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through. Sprinkle the parsley and basil over the paillards and serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. Cooking Soul Mates!! I love it, you are so sweet!! I so look forward to the day we will cook together too!! Glad you liked the recipe! :)