Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thursday Dinner.

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on some of the most beautiful veggies (tomatoes, fresh fennel, basil, hand-brined olives) and organic, farm-raised chicken yesterday-- I am very much looking forward to preparing this dish at home tonight.  As the hubb says, "What's a paillard?"  Here's what we're cooking...

Paillard is an older French culinary term referring to a quick-cooking, thinly sliced or pounded piece of meat.  In France, it has been largely replaced by the word escalope.


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 sliced
¼ cup raisins, soaked in white wine
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

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.
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.

Viola!  This was another fantastic dish-- the flavors worked together in a really lovely way and the chicken came out so tender and juicy.  Definitely a new favorite.


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