Saturday, October 12, 2013




Chicken Paillard with Grape Salsa and Roasted Broccoli

 If you are in need of a healthy and quick mid-week or fancy dinner for family or friends, Chicken Paillard with Grape Salsa is for you!  Easy, healthy and above all, pretty painless, this recipe is satisfying of all palettes.  While boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied, are normally used for this dish, I love chicken thighs, so if you are set on using chicken breasts, go for it!  It is also great if you are on a low sodium diet.  Here is my version of Chicken Paillard...

Ingredients
1 package of six to eight boneless, skinless chicken thighs 
1 clove garlic, smashed and 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 a red onion, finely chopped, separated in half
1/2 cup red seedless grapes, halved at an angle
1.2 cup green seedless grapes, halved at an angle
1 finely chopped Fresno chile
1/4 cup Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, finely chopped plus a little coarsely chopped parsley, set aside for garnish
Extra Virgin Olive Oil:  3 tablespoons for the marinate, 2 tablespoons for the skillet
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper each to season the chicken before marinating
Juice and zest of one lemon, separated in half
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
Splash of white wine
Roasted Broccoli Side Dish
1 head fresh broccoli, chopped into half trees
2 cloves fresh, grated garlic
1 - 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons shaved parmesan cheese for topping after roasting

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Remove the chicken from its packaging and add salt and pepper to both sides.  In a medium bowl, combine three tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, the red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar, the smashed clove of garlic, half of the chopped red onion, and half of the lemon juice and zest.  In a gallon sized zip-lock bag, add the above ingredients and add the chicken to the bag.  Push out as much air as possible and zip closed the bag.  Move the chicken around the marinade to make sure the flavors work on each chicken thigh.Place the marinating chicken in the refrigerator for about thirty minutes.

Meanwhile, wash and chop the broccoli and lay the florets on a baking dish or in an oven-safe skillet. When you are ready to cook the chicken, toss the florets in the extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and fresh grated garlic.  Redistribute the florets and roast for twenty minutes at 400 degrees, until the florets begin to blacken and crisp.  Your nose will tell you when the broccoli is done, as the garlic aroma will permeate your kitchen in a most happy way.  


While the broccoli is absorbing that delicious garlic flavor via the extra virgin olive oil and the chicken is marinating, time to make the fresh grape salsa.  Keep in mind, this salsa can either be cooked into a sauce or served cold and fresh atop the chicken.  I love it either way.  

In a medium bowl, add the grapes, extra virgin olive oil, the other half of the lemon juice and zest, the finely chopped garlic, the other part of the red onion, the finely chopped Fresno chile, the quarter cup of finely chopped Italian Flat Leaf Parsley and the splash of white wine. I used white wine because the first time, I sauteed this salsa.  The second time, I served it fresh.  If you serve the salsa fresh, grate one clove of garlic, instead of two finely chopped cloves of garlic.  Allow the salsa to sit in the refrigerator after stirring thoroughly to allow the flavors to marry.  Actually, the longer it sits, the better, so if you make this even a day ahead of time, it will be great.  


***One mistake I made was to add finely grated parmesan cheese to the salsa, which made it grainy.  The second time I made this dish, I used shaved parmesan as a topping, which worked much better.  Lesson learned! Isn't that what it's all about?

Finally, when you are ready to fry up the marinated chicken, place the broccoli baking sheet or oven-safe skillet to the oven for twenty minutes.  

Add about two tablespoons (two rounds around the skillet) extra virgin olive oil to the skillet over medium-high heat.  If you want to grill your chicken, grilling adds a fantastic flavor to the overall dish.  Just thought you diligent grillmeisters out there might want to know that.  Remove the chicken from the bag with tongs and add each chicken thigh to the skillet, inner-meaty side down.  Dispose of the marinade and the bags safely and wash your hands carefully.  Safety first!  Saute' the thighs about four minutes per side.  Do not move the thighs for at least four minutes before turning.  Allow the meat to brown and caramelize. That is flavor!  The kitchen should be overflowing with the garlic aroma from the broccoli, and now with the marinate ingredients on the chicken.  You should be very happy about now!

Great golden color is what you are looking for!

Remove the chicken and plate, along with the broccoli, which should be done about now, or shortly.  If you are going to saute' the grape salsa, start with adding a splash of white wine, and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits from the skillet and add the salsa.  Saute' for about four or five minutes, until the garlic is softened.  If you do not plan to saute' the grape salsa, remember to finely grate the one small garlic clove.  Well, unless you really like garlic, cooked or not.  I leave that to you.  

After allowing the chicken to rest a few minutes, top with the grape salsa, sauteed or cold, and serve with the broccoli, topped with shaved parmesan cheese. The parm adds a nice salty bite to the sweet bites of the grapes. Crown the Paillard with the remaining coarsely chopped parsley.  This dish is dreamy, let me assure you.  

Enjoy!  Thank you for your time!