This chicken paillard with mustard and caper sauce dish is great for turning any leftovers into a decadent chicken sandwich the very next day. Also to note, the potato wedges are absolutely no hassle to make: boil whole, cut into wedges, season, place in the oven and let a timer remind you when they’re ready! A baby gem salad provides great crunch, while the shallot vinaigrette adds a delicate touch to this meal. The winner here, however, is undoubtedly the chicken paillard. “Paillard” is a French term, known to the culinary world as a cooking technique that allows a piece of meat to be cooked quickly because it is pounded very thin. Cooking any piece of flattened protein quickly on high heat secures no loss of moisture, so whether it is veal, beef, or chicken, the paillard stays tender and juicy.
In the late 19th century, approximately the 1880s, a French restaurateur named Paillard discovered that by cutting a piece of veal very thin, and then pounding it much thinner, it would essentially flash cook easily in a very hot pan. This creates highly sought after crispy edges, where all the flavor accumulates. Paillards have come in and out of fashion in the gastronomy world, and some people may even consider it retro. But whether it stays in trend or not, chicken paillards will stay relevant on my dining room table because it is a classic that stands the test of time.
On the following day after making the chicken paillards, simply get your best bread for making sandwiches with the leftovers—I’m thinking ciabatta. Slice the bread open and toast the slices open faced in a hot oven until slightly golden. Slather the toasted slices with leftover mustard and caper sauce. Reheat the chicken paillards either in an oven or a microwave. Place the chicken on the bottom piece of bread. Trim the paillard, if necessary, to fit the shape of the bread. (Though an edge sticking out of the sandwich is not the end of the world; if anything, it’s more appealing!) Top the paillards with American cheese (or any other acidic cheese that is good for melting). While open faced, melt the cheese quickly in the already hot oven. Close the sandwich with the top bread piece. Cut in half and enjoy with any leftover potato wedges, or, if you ate them all, then just make sure you have a bag of potato chips on hand. If you’re one who needs some greenery in all of your meals, then yes, please tuck in some leftover baby gem lettuce leaves in your sandwich. This is what I call a two for one. Enjoy!
Ingredients for the potato wedges:
2 large russet potatoes
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Ingredients for the chicken paillard:
4 chicken breasts, butterflied, pounded thin
Salt & pepper, to taste
Standard breading procedure: all purpose flour, 3 eggs, italian breadcrumbs (with 1 tsp creole spice mix & ½ tsp kosher salt)
2 cups canola oil for frying
1 lemon, cut in half
Ingredients for the mustard & caper sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup dijon mustard
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 garlic cloves, rough chop
2 tbsp capers, rough chop
Salt and pepper, to taste
Ingredients for the baby gem salad with shallot vinaigrette:
Whole baby gem leaves, washed, patted dry
½ small shallot, minced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions for the potato wedges:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Boil whole russet potatoes in enough water to cover the potatoes for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove the boiled potatoes and, when cool enough to handle, cut into wedges lengthwise. One potato will create 8 wedges.
Season the potato wedges with extra virgin olive oil and salt. Transfer to a parchment lined sheet tray.
Roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Turn the oven down to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the potato wedges in the oven until they’re ready to serve. In the meantime, keep working on the other steps of this recipe.
Instructions for the chicken paillard:
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Butterfly each chicken breast.
Place the butterflied chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Using a kitchen mallet or a rolling pin, pound the chicken breast until it is very thin and even. It will spread out and appear larger. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste on both sides.
Bread the pounded and butterflied chicken breasts using a standard breading procedure (see below). Place the breaded chicken breasts in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
When ready to cook, heat a large nonstick skillet with 2 cups of canola oil on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, shallow fry the chicken paillards one at a time, approximately 3 – 5 minutes per side. Transfer the golden and crispy chicken paillards to the oven and finish cooking until a digital thermometer reads 165 degree Fahrenheit. Keep in the oven until ready to serve so that it stays warm. In the meantime, keep working on the other steps of this recipe.
Standard breading procedure:
Create a setup of 3 bowls. Fill the first bowl with flour, the second bowl with the egg wash, and the third bowl with the seasoned breadcrumbs (add the creole spice mix and the salt – see ingredients list).
Step 1: Dredge the chicken completely in the flour, shake off excess flour.
Step 2: Dip in the egg wash, making sure it is completely coated, shake off excess liquid.
Step 3: Press the chicken into the breadcrumbs evenly, shake off excess breadcrumbs.
Instructions for the mustard & caper sauce:
Combine all the ingredients into a food processor, except for the roughly chopped capers. Pulse until combined.
Transfer the sauce to a bowl. Add the roughly chopped capers to the sauce, mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside or keep in the fridge until ready to use.
Instructions for the baby gem salad with shallot vinaigrette:
Mix the shallots, dijon mustard, and lemon juice in a bowl.
In a slow stream, add the extra virgin olive oil and stir vigorously with a whisk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the baby gem lettuce to the bowl and toss completely. Set aside.
Remove the potato wedges and the chicken paillards from the oven. Slice the chicken paillard into thin strips, but keep together. On a serving plate, place potato wedges on the bottom right of the plate. Add the baby gem salad to the top half of the plate. Lay the chicken paillard slices on the left side of the plate, slightly overlapping the salad and potato wedges. Spoon the mustard and caper sauce in a single line over the chicken paillards. Serve extra sauce on the side in a small ramekin and place at the bottom of the plate, in between the paillard and potato wedges. Garnish the place with lemon. Enjoy!