A "paillard" is an old-school French culinary term referring to a piece of meat that is pounded flat to break down its fibers, making it more tender and cook up quickly. In this case, a thin chicken breast is seasoned to perfection and adorned with fresh lemon to brighten its savory flavor.
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You Will Need
Prepare the Ingredients
Rinse and pat dry lemon, tomatoes, spinach, and basil. Zest, and halve lemon. Halve grape tomatoes. Stem and chiffonade basil (roll up leaves, and thinly slice). Mince shallot. Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry.
Prepare the Chicken
Lay down a piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Place chicken breasts over it and cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or small pan, pound the breasts to an even ¼" thickness.
Season the Chicken
Place chicken breasts in a mixing bowl, then season with red pepper flakes (to taste), basil, 1 tsp. of olive oil, and a pinch salt and pepper.
Cook the Chicken
Heat 2 tsp. of olive oil in a pan over medium heat, and cook chicken for about 4 minutes per side, or until they reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees. Let chicken rest for a few minutes after cooking.
Mix the Dressing
While chicken is resting, whisk champagne vinegar, mustard, lemon juice (to taste), shallot, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl.
Place a serving of spinach on a plate, then add grape tomato halves, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Nestle chicken against salad. Drizzle chicken and salad with dressing. Add another squeeze of lemon juice (to taste), and garnish with lemon zest.