Grilled Chicken Paillards with Arugula Salad, Crispy Potatoes and Rosemary Pecans

Paillard – what a funny word! And to me, the pronunciation is even funnier: pî-yahrd. I have quite a silly imagination at times, so whenever I hear this word, I have the mental picture of a backyard full of delicious pies growing here, there and everywhere! Well, despite the funny name, this dish is absolutely fabulous, and a light, new twist on dinner. It has all the elements of an old-fashioned meat, potato and vegetable dinner, but dressed up in new clothes!


Believe it or not, there was actually a Mr. Paillard once upon a time. Oh, I guess I should say a Monsieur Paillard; he was a restauranteur in France in the late 19th century. Nowdays, paillard is actually a method of preparing meat that involves flattening it, which considerably shortens the cooking time and helps tenderize the meat. Thanks to the Monsieur, you can have this delicious meal on the table in no time flat! 🙂

The pecans can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container. Although I do have to confess that at my house I sometimes hide them. You see, often by the time I go to make dinner, the nut bag is empty with only a ghost of the delicious rosemary scent remaining! My problem is that I’m either not a very good hider, or I have a super sleuth for a husband. I’m continually looking for a new secret niche, these delicious morsels are just too tempting!

Give this recipe a try; but think of it as a template. I‘m including a recipe for Lemon Shallot dressing, but feel free to substitute your own favourite. There are no hard and fast rules here; sometimes arugula can be hard to find, so don’t hesitate to interchange other greens and/or your own favorite salad ingredients. Bon Appetit!

  • Grilled Chicken Paillards with Arugula Salad, Crispy Potatoes and Rosemary Pecans

  • Rosemary Roasted Pecans
  • 1 pound pecan halves, you will have plenty of these left over for other salads or snacking!
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, don’t go out and buy dark brown sugar just for this, regular brown sugar will work just fine!
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Grilled Chicken
  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breast, if the chicken breast are large, I cut them in half
  • lemon pepper, to taste, I really like this grinder
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Arugula Salad
  • ½ lb. arugula
  • 2 ripe plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 ripe avacado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 small red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • Crispy Potatoes
  • 24 tiny red or yellow potatoes, less if your potatoes are a bit bigger
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste
  • Lemon Shallot Dressing
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon champagne or good sherry vinegar, I love the Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar at Trader Joe’s but really, any good vinegar will do the trick
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, usually about 1 large lemon
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1.For the Rosemary Roasted Pecans; place nuts on large sheet pan. Roast for 20 minutes at 325, stirring occasionally. Place olive oil and butter in a small microwavable bowl and heat for 30 seconds to melt butter. Stir in the rosemary, brown sugar and sea salt. Remove pecans from oven and add olive oil mixture, stirring well to coat nuts Return pan to oven and from oven and roast for another 10 -12 minutes or until deep golden brown. Spread out to cool on a paper towel. I like to do these ahead of time. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.
I am a bit lazy so I usually line my pan with parchment paper or foil – walá! no cleaning the pan!
2.For the Crispy Potatoes; Wash and dry potatoes with paper towel. Cut each in half. Place olive oil in small non stick skillet on medium heat. When oil is hot, place potatoes in pan, skin side down, sprinkle with sea salt and saute until tender and golden, lowering heat if potatoes are browning too quickly. After skin side is golden you can stir these every few minutes to brown and crisp the other sides. This will take about 15-20 minutes, depending on the type and size of potato that you use.
3.For the Lemon Shallot Dressing; whisk together lemon juice, shallot, vinegar, mustard, honey. Slowly drizzle in olive oil whisking continually to incorporate. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
4.For the Chicken Paillards; place one breast at a time into a zippered freezer bag. With the flat side of a meat mallet or a heavy small, pan pound chicken and flatten to 1/4 inch thickness. Preheat grill to medium-high. Season with lemon-pepper on both sides and drizzle with olive oil. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown and just cooked through.
5. For the Arugula Salad; combine arugula, tomatoes, avocado and onions in a large bowl, toss with a small amount of the dressing, enough to coat.
6.Place each paillard on a large plate, drizzle with a small amount of dressing and top with some of the arugula-tomato salad. Sprinkle potatoes and pecans over salads.
Serves 4


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