Trade burgers and dogs for a light summer dish
Barbecued chicken paillard refreshing option
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.
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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...