A paillard is a paper-thin fillet of meat that grills in seconds and is one of the quickest meals ever to slide onto a dinner plate. Preparing the meat is not difficult, but it does require some pounding. A wide, flat piece of meat (butterflied boneless chicken breast is a natural; see page 164 for butterflying instructions) is placed between sheets of plastic wrap and flattened until it spreads wide and thin (about 3/16 inch). If you don’t have a meat pounder or a flat-faced meat mallet, you can use the bottom of a heavy saucepan or skillet, but if you prepare boneless chicken breasts regularly (and who doesn’t?), you should consider buying a good meat pounder. Paillards can be pounded hours ahead and
stored in the refrigerator; they will be on the grill for no longer than 1 minute.
Prep: 10 minutes
Grill: 1 minute.
BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Flat-sided meat pounder
– Long-handled spatula.
Gas: Direct heat, high (500°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Direct heat, red hot
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Direct heat, red hot
12-by-12-inch bed, 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed,
6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
6 anchovy fillets, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Oil for coating grill grate.
– Although boneless, skinless chicken breast halves are the prime candidate for paillardization, anything that can be pounded thin enough can be turned into a paillard. Unsoaked sea scallops make elegant mini-paillards. Slices of boneless turkey breast and cross sections of pork loin, beef tenderloin, or veal leg are all viable options.
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Coat the chicken breasts with 4 teaspoons of the olive oil. Put one of them on a large sheet of plastic wrap, season it with the ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, top with another sheet of plastic wrap, and pound until uniformly 3/16 inch thick and the approximate dimensions of a dinner plate. This preparation is a paillard. Set aside. Repeat with the remaining breast halves, using new sheets of plastic for each one.
3. Mash the anchovies, garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, black pepper to taste, and butter on a clean work surface with the back of a fork until well combined. Divide into 4 equal portions.
4. Brush the grill grate and coat it liberally with oil. Remove the plastic wrap from 2 of the flattened breasts and place them on the grill so that they are spread out flat. The easiest way is to support it with your open hand and flip it onto the grill. Grill until the chicken looks opaque, about 30 seconds. Flip with a spatula and grill for 15 seconds on the other side. Remove to a platter, cover to keep warm, and repeat with the other 2 paillards.
5. Top each paillard with a portion of anchovy butter; serve immediately.