Chicken Paillard With Black Olive Tapenade

Chicken Paillard With Black Olive Tapenade

Paillard is the French word for a thin slice of meat that cooks quickly. (Sometimes, a thicker piece of meat is pounded with a mallet to make it thinner.) This recipe is an easy way to make a chicken paillard without much pounding. Essentially, you butterfly a boneless, skinless chicken breast, slicing horizontally to make a flat, heart-shaped breast, then pound it lightly. Unfortunately, a chicken breast is often dry and tasteless, but it doesn’t have to be. Seasoned and cooked correctly, it should be tasty and moist. A dab of tapenade, a traditional Provençal black olive paste, makes a perfect accompaniment.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    Make the tapenade: In the bowl of a food processor, place olives, anchovy, garlic, capers, parsley, orange zest, lemon zest, red-pepper flakes and olive oil. Pulse several times to make a rough paste, then scrape down sides of the bowl and purée for about 30 seconds more. Alternatively, use a knife to finely chop ingredients, transfer them to a bowl and stir in the olive oil. You should have about 1 cup of tapenade, more than you need for this recipe. (Refrigerate the remainder for up to 2 weeks.)
  2. Step 2

    Prepare the chicken: Working one at a time, lay chicken breast on a sturdy cutting board. With a sharp, thin-bladed knife, cut breast horizontally in half, almost, but not completely. Open the breast like a book; it will be a heart-shaped piece of meat. Lay the breast between two resealable plastic bags and lightly pound the breast to 3/8- to 1/2-inch thickness. Don’t pound too hard, or the meat may tear. When all breasts are ready, transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet in one layer.
  3. Step 3

    Season each breast on both sides with salt and pepper and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle with chopped thyme, and rub seasoning into meat, coating evenly with oil. Scatter thyme sprigs and lemon zest strips over. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
  4. Step 4

    Set oven to 400 degrees. Put a large skillet over medium-high heat, and lightly coat bottom with olive oil. When oil is hot, lay two chicken breasts top-side down in skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn over and cook 1 minute more. Transfer breasts to a clean baking sheet, browned-side up. Repeat with the other breasts.
  5. Step 5

    Bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes, until firm to the touch. Remove from oven, keep warm and let rest 5 minutes. Remove and discard thyme sprigs and lemon zest strips.
  6. Step 6

    Put arugula in a bowl, and dress very lightly with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place a handful of dressed greens on each of four plates. Place cooked paillards alongside. Smear 1 tablespoon tapenade across the surface of each breast. With a vegetable peeler, shave some cheese over arugula. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.