Chicken Paillards with Arugula Salad


Being raised in the rural South, the first time I learned what a chicken paillard was was this year.  I saw Rachael Ray make the recipe I'm posting about on her talk show, and it looked simple, pretty, and good.  A sort of taste and presentation bang for your buck.  I Googled "chicken paillard" and saw that it's a French term, apparently in reference to a chicken breast that has been either butterflied or pounded flat, grilled, and is topped with vegetables or salad.  In this case, a flattened chicken breast was not only topped with salad, it was over a puddle of a sauce.  It was good, and it's a technique or concept I'm glad I know.

So, try out this recipe, or some related one, and get ready to look like Julia Child was your mentor.  This makes me a big nerd, but it's dishes like this that make me feel like I have some kitchen cred, which is like street cred, but in the kitchen.  You probably got that.

Is it just me or does this particular chicken breast look like the state of SC?

Bonuses- they're quick cooking, and the whole dish can come together in 30 minutes or less.  The prettiness of the dish makes it a good candidate for having some friends over.  The taste will back up its good looks.  The one thing I'll likely change is that I'll probably not make the sauce again.  I don't know if it was the tarragon or something else, but it didn't really do anything for Drew and me.  The actual chicken breast and the salad, though- yes.  Loved it- fresh, light, but satisfying.

Not complete without the parmesan shavings!

Chicken Paillards with Arugula Salad
from the Rachael Ray Show

6 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or pasted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 4 small skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar or white vinegar
  • 6 cups of arugula
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano

In a large, shallow dish, combine 4 tablespoons EVOO, half of the lemon juice, the lemon zest, garlic and thyme. Preheat a grill pan or griddle over medium-high heat.

Cut into the chicken breasts horizontally to butterfly, opening them up like a book. Firmly but gently pound
them into very thin cutlets; season with salt and pepper. Add them to the lemon-garlic marinade and let stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook until thickened; whisk in the chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the mustard, then stir in the tarragon. Keep the sauce warm over low heat.

On the grill pan or griddle, working in batches if necessary, grill the chicken, turning once, until cooked through, 4-6 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining lemon juice, the vinegar and the remaining 2 tablespoons of EVOO; season with salt and pepper. Add the arugula, peas, radishes and shallot, and toss gently with your hands to lightly coat. Top with cheese.

To serve, ladle some of the sauce onto plates. Top with the chicken. Pile the salad over the chicken.


  • The original recipe calls for thinly sliced radish to be added to the salad, but I'm not crazy about radishes, so add if you really wanna.
  • My chicken breasts were small, so I did not butterfly them/cut them.  I just pounded flat.  The way I do it is to put the chicken breast in a gallon sized plastic bag (or between two layers of plastic wrap) and use a small but hefty skillet to do the work.  

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