Trade burg­ers and dogs for a light summer dish

Bar­be­cued chicken pail­lard re­fresh­ing op­tion

Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - SARA MOUL­TON

Dur­ing the summer, many of us tend to overdo it. Ribs, steaks, burg­ers and hot­dogs? Check, check, check and check!

Vegeta­bles and other light fare? Not so much. Al­low me to pro­pose an al­ter­na­tive — a dish that’s si­mul­ta­ne­ously light and re­fresh­ing and sub­stan­tial: Chicken pail­lard.

Pail­lard is a French culi­nary term re­fer­ring to a piece of meat pounded thin, then grilled or sauteed. In this case, we’re go­ing to mar­i­nate and grill chicken breasts, then top them off with a peach and arugula salad with a full-fat blue cheese dress­ing.

Where do you find these skinny cuts of chicken? Chances are you can pick up thin chicken breast cut­lets at the su­per­mar­ket. Or you can buy chicken breasts of av­er­age girth, pop them in the freezer for 30 min­utes, then cut them hor­i­zon­tally into two thin cut­lets.

What­ever kind of breasts you start with, you’ll need to pound the cut­lets to the de­sired thin­ness. And you’ll want to avoid shred­ding them.

Here’s a lit­tle trick to avoid any shred­ding. Sprin­kle both sides of the cut­let with cold wa­ter be­fore putting it be­tween two sheets of plas­tic wrap (or in a zip-close plas­tic bag). Then pound away, as planned, with a meat pounder or a rolling pin. The wa­ter cush­ions the meat, pre­vent­ing it from stick- ing to the plas­tic and shred­ding.

Next, it’s time to bathe the cut­lets for an hour in a sim­ple mari­nade of olive oil, lemon and gar­lic. Their thin­ness helps them to soak up the flavour fast. Grilling the cut­lets takes al­most no time at all, about one minute per side. Let them rest for five min­utes and they’re good to go.

They’re also de­li­cious at room tem­per­a­ture an hour later, which gives you the op­tion of grilling the chicken ahead of time. How­ever you do it, re­mem­ber to save the juices from the plate on which the cooked cut­lets were rest­ing; you’ll want to driz­zle in it onto the chicken be­fore top­ping it with the salad.

The salad is a cinch — sliced fresh summer peaches and baby arugula (or your favourite greens) tossed with a blue cheese dress­ing. A lit­tle bit of full-fat blue cheese goes a long way. In this recipe, 28 g serves four peo­ple. It’s so rich, I’ve com­bined it with low-fat may­on­naise, Greek yo­gurt and a bit of wa­ter to thin it out. Toasted wal­nuts pro­vide the fi­nal touch.

Grilled chicken pail­lard with peach and arugula salad

Start to fin­ish: 1 hour, 20 min­utes (20 min­utes ac­tive)

Serv­ings: 8 2 lbs (908 g) chicken breasts, pounded 1/16-in. (1.5-mm) thick

1/4 cup (60 mL) lemon juice

1/4 cup (60 mL) ex­tra-vir­gin oil

4 tsp (20 mL) minced gar­lic Kosher salt and ground black pep­per

8 cups (2 L) baby arugula

4 large peaches, thinly sliced

In a large zip-close plas­tic bag, com­bine the chicken with the lemon juice, olive oil, gar­lic, 1 tea­spoon of salt and sev­eral grind­ings of pep­per. Mix, then chill for 1 hour.

Heat the grill to medium-high. Use an oil-soaked pa­per towel held with tongs to oil the grill grates.

Re­move the chicken from the mari­nade, let­ting the ex­cess liq­uid drip off. Grill the chicken un­til it is just cooked, about 1 minute per side. Trans­fer to a plate, cover with foil and let rest for 5 min­utes.

Mean­while, in a large bowl com­bine the arugula and the peaches. In a small bowl com­bine the yo­gurt, may­on­naise and blue cheese. Stir in enough wa­ter to achieve the de­sired con­sis­tency (about 1/3 cup or 80 mL), then sea­son with salt and pep­per. Add the dress­ing to the salad and toss well.

To serve, ar­range one of the pail­lards on each serv­ing plate and top with salad and nuts.

WAS EX­EC­U­TIVE CHEF AT MAGAZINE FOR NEARLY YEARS, AND SPENT A DECADE HOST­ING

SHOWS. HAS WRIT­TEN THREE COOK­BOOKS, IN­CLUD­ING

Matthew Mead/The As­so­ci­ated Press

1/2 cup (125 mL) fat-free plain Greek yo­gurt 1/4 cup (60 mL) light may­on­naise 2 oz (58 g) finely crum­bled blue cheese 1 cup (250 mL) chopped toasted wal­nuts Grilled chicken pail­lard with peach and arugula salad is an al­ter­na­tive summer dish that’s...

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