Melia Marden grew up in New York and Greece, where she enjoyed great seasonal food and a family that loved to entertain. In Modern Mediterranean (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2013), the executive chef at New York City's hotspot, The Smile, presents 125 easy Mediterranean-inspired recipes for the home cook. From Minted Snap Peas to Watermelon Salad to Summer Steak Sliced Over Corn to Almond Cream with Cherries and Pistachios, these recipes call for bold flavors. The following Chicken Paillard Recipe with Kalamata Olives is excerpted from chapter 8, “Meat & Poultry.”
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Chicken paillard is the only way I really like cooking boneless, skinless chicken breast. Pounding the meat very thinly results in more surface area and a higher flavor-to-meat ratio in each bite. This is my quick-cooking, one-pan, last-minute dinner standby. No hidden tricks or subtle notes here — just bold, salty southern Italian flavors.
4 (4- to 6-ounce / 115- to 170-gram) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons (60 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise as thinly as possible
1/4 cup (60 milliliters) freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 cup (180 grams) pitted kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons drained capers
1/4 cup (15 grams) roughly chopped fresh parsley
1. Place 1 chicken breast between two large pieces of parchment paper on a sturdy work surface. Pound with a meat mallet until the breast is about 1/4 inch (6 millimeters) thick. If you don’t have a mallet, you can use a heavy pan or rolling pin. Set aside and repeat with the remaining breasts.
2. Season each breast with 1/4 teaspoon salt per side and a generous amount of pepper.
3. In your widest sauté or frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) of the oil, the chili flakes, and bay leaf until very hot, about 1 minute.
4. Place 2 of the breasts in the pan and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is also golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the breasts to a plate. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Repeat with the remaining 2 breasts and set aside. Remove the pan from the heat.
5. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) oil and the garlic to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the garlic begins to soften, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 1 minute.
6. Add the lemon juice and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the olives and capers and cook until well combined, about 1 minute.
7. Return the chicken and any juices from the plate to the pan. Stir to coat, cover, and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 3 minutes.
8. Uncover, remove from the heat, and add the parsley. To serve, place each breast on a plate, or all of them on a platter, and spoon some of the olive mixture on top of each one.Serves 4.
Read More: Try more Mediterranean-inspired dishes in Penne Rigate Recipe With Sugar Snap Peas and Ricotta and Steak Recipe With Sautéed Corn & Salsa.
Reprinted with permission from Modern Mediterranean: Easy, Flavorful Home Cooking by Melia Marden and published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2013. Buy this book from our store: Modern Mediterranean.
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