As my collegiate career comes to a close, I'm reminded of how it began for me. Five short years ago, I was left anxiously waiting at home for two months after all of my other friends began college, because Drexel's classes don't begin until late September. I was left with an excess of time during the day, which led me to watch the Food Network incessantly. This inspired me to create recipes by some of the greats: Bobby Flay, Ina Garten, and Tyler Florence. My first whack at cooking outside of my comfort zone was Bobby's chicken paillard. Much to my parent's delight (and maybe a bit of surprise), it was delicious. I cooked up a storm for my last weeks spent at home, and eventually I created this wonderful blog two years ago. Today, chicken paillard is a simple dish that I make if I'm lacking creativity in the kitchen, but it will always remind me of when my love of cooking began.
The word paillard may evoke the idea that the dish is complicated, but it just means that the chicken has been pounded flat. I took it beyond the traditional grilled paillard, and breaded it with a combination of panko and grated parmesan cheese. I also went the extra mile and topped it with a lemon dressed arugula salad and crispy shallots. In total this dish takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and cook, and it's the perfect combination of indulgence and freshness.
Parmesan Chicken Paillard
4 chicken breasts
1 cup flour
1 cup panko
1 cup parmesan, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large shallots, sliced into rings
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups arugula
Take your chicken breasts, and use a meat tenderizer to pound them until they're thin. If they are really thick to begin with, butterfly them first (cut them horizontally 90% of the way through then spread it apart).
Next, set up a little station for yourself with the flour on a large plate, then eggs in a bowl (whisked), and another large plate with a mixture of the panko, parmesan, as well as a bit of salt and pepper. Start by placing the chicken into the flour until they're completely coated, then into the egg, and finally into the panko-parm mixture.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, add the two tablespoons of olive oil. After the oil has heated, add the breasts two at a time to the oil for 3 minutes per side, or until they're no longer pink inside. Continue to do this with the last two breasts.
Meanwhile in a small saute pan over medium heat, add the 1/4 cup of olive oil. While that's heating, toss the shallot rings into the flour until they're coated. Add the coated shallots to the hot oil for a minute or two per side, or until they're golden.
Finally, in a small bowl toss the arugula with the juice from the lemon. To plate the dish, top the cooked chicken with the arugula and crispy shallots.