Maigret and the Chicken Paillard

Books and food, two of my favorite things, perhaps why I enjoy combining those subjects in a post.  The Inspector Maigret mystery series by Georges Simenon is one I've been working my way through.  Still more to go as he was a very prolific author, with close to 500 novels to his credit.  Simenon started very young, working as a newspaper reporter, which saw him visiting the seamier side of life in the city, but later provided plenty of material for his books.  The one I've just finished, Maigret and the Wine Merchant is typical.  They're all fairly lightweight, and not exactly cozy mysteries, but creative stories and interesting from a Parisian post-war perspective.  And I like his good relationship with Mrs. Maigret, who is always cooking up some delicious meal.

To go along with the French theme, we have a chicken breast, sort of a butterflied technique called paillard.  New to me, but maybe you all do up paillards on a regular basis.  I even had the grill, which had only ever been used, until lately for pancakes on the opposite side.  What a revelation, a use for something I already have.  Got to love that.  In case you're not familiar with the method, I'm going to lay it out for you from Serious Eats.  If you go to the link there will be photos of each step.

                          I cut this up before taking my photo, unfortunately too hungry.

Chicken Paillard
Lay the chicken breast skin-side down (or what was once skin side) on a cutting board.
Using a sharp knife cut a thin line lengthwise down the center of the chicken, halfway through the breast.
Next, starting at the center line slice through one side of the breast at an angle  Stop before the knife goes fully through.
Open the cut side.
Carefully repeat on the other side.
Open 'er up - The breast should be of relatively equal thickness all the way across.
Time to pound
Cover the chicken on both sides with plastic wrap. Use two separate pieces (rather than fold one piece in half) to be sure you have room for your chicken to expand.
If you don't have a meat mallet
grab a can from the pantry and use the side of it to firmly smack the meat. Be sure to concentrate on the middle as well as the outer edges. If you do have a meat tenderizer (ideal), either the flat or spiked side will do. Work gently so as not to break through the flesh.
Remove the plastic wrap
Season your chicken, and toss it on a scorching hot grill for a minute or two on each side (depending on how thin you've gotten it). 
Or, there's option two
Stuff and roll!  As most packages come with two breasts, you can prepare them both, or as I did, freeze one for another time.  One was plenty for us two.

So this is now my favorite way to prepare chicken breasts, by far!  So quick to cook, tender, moist and just delicious.  I seasoned it simply with salt, pepper, harissa and olive oil.  Served with a pasta salad.  And will share the goodness with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking event.  Click on and visit.


jama said...

There's a restaurant near home that serves chicken paillard -- tried it several times and liked it, but never tried to make it myself. Thanks for the recipe and butterflying techniques!

Tina said...

I've never tried making this at home but your recipe is inspiring.

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

Chicken paillard is one of my all-time favorite dishes.

Beth F said...

I've ordered it plenty of times but never made it myself. Now I"m inspired! (sorry I'm so late arriving, between travel and computer issues ... well, you know how it goes.)

Mae Travels said...

That's pretty much how I make chicken breast, but didn't know it had a name!

best.... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Carole said...

Lovely. Have a great week. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

Deb in Hawaii said...

I am just amazed by the fact that the author has 500 books! Wow! ;-) Your chicken chicken paillard looks perfect.