Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fast & Easy Recipe #1: Chicken Paillard with Primavera Sauce

The French knew what they were doing when they came up with the paillard.   What's a paillard, you say?  First, say it properly okay.  Paillard, sounds just like "pie yard".  And now that you are done laughing, let's talk about what the paillard is and why it is so brilliant.  Paillard is the term for a quick cooking cut of meat, pounded thin with a mallet.  How quick does it cook you ask?  Two minutes quick!  It's genius right?  And almost any meat can be made into a paillard.  Chicken, turkey, pork and even beef.  When you are a working mom like me, paillard becomes synonymous with BIG time saver.    

My most favorite way to prepare a paillard is to give it a light dredge of seasoned flour and saute it quickly in hot olive oil, pair it with buttered pasta and a fresh primavera sauce.  Quick and CLEAN!  

Chicken Paillard with Primavera Sauce

2 chicken breasts
angel hair pasta
2 cloves garlic
2 c. grape tomatoes
fresh basil
1 c. chopped zucchini
olive oil
1/2 c. flour
3 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cracked pepper
butter (or margarine)

Place one chicken breast on a cutting board.  Holding the breast flat on the board with your palm, carefully fillet the breast through its center with a sharp knife.  Using a mallet covered with plastic wrap, pound each fillet uniformly until 1/4" thick.  Repeat with the second chicken breast and set fillets aside.  

Fill a 4 quart pot 2/3 full with water and set on medium-high heat.  Salt the water to your taste.    

While waiting for the water to boil, prepare your veggies.  Using a fresh cutting board and knife, mince the garlic and quarter your grape tomatoes. Chop your basil (using as many leaves as you wish to suit your taste) and cut your zucchini into a large dice.  

TIP:  When chopping basil, first roll leaves together, lengthwise.  
Cut across the length of the basil "roll" creating a chiffonade (thin long strips of basil).     

By now, your water should be boiling.  Add your desired amount of pasta and allow to cook.   Remember to stir the boiling pasta occasionally to prevent sticking.  

While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a medium sized saute pan over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add your minced garlic.  Allow the garlic to brown but stir frequently to prevent burning.  When the garlic is lightly browned, stir in the grape tomatoes and 1 tsp. salt.  Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat allowing the tomatoes to release their juices.  The tomatoes will soften while cooking so there is no need to "smash" them, but you can certainly do that if you wish.  (Why not make the cooking fun!  If you are in need for a stress reliever, then by all means go for it!)  Stir in the fresh basil and chopped zucchini.  Reduce the heat to low and let simmer.   

In a shallow bowl mix flour, the remaining salt, garlic powder and cracked pepper.  Lightly dredge both sides of each fillet in the flour mixture.   Set the floured fillets aside.  Add olive oil to a large saute pan, enough to cover the bottom of the pan and set over medium high heat.  

While oil is heating, drain the pasta (if ready).  Return the cooked pasta to the warm pot but do not set it back on the heat.  Add the desired amount of butter and an equal amount of olive oil to the pasta and toss.  Salt to taste if desired.  

Return back to your large saute pan and, when oil is hot, add the floured fillets to the pan.  Cook for 1-2 to minutes on each side.  

Plate each paillard alongside the desired amount of pasta and spoon the primavera sauce over both.  Voila!  All done and so good!

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