Chicken Paillards with Artichoke and Lemon

When I found myself about 20 pounds overweight in 2010 I created something I called The Fiddle Diet.  I had tried another diet but was disappointed with the food.  So I started "fiddling" around with my own recipes with a focus on making them low-calorie, nutritious but still delicious.  The idea was that you would be "Fit as a Fiddle" after eating them.  So the name came from both of those thoughts and the Fiddle Diet was born.  I ended up losing all of my weight and the 58 friends who kindly volunteered to be guinea pigs, lost weight as well.  My favorite part about the diet was that people were writing to me about how much their families loved the food.  That they could make the meal for their entire family to enjoy instead of feeling deprived while everyone else feasted.

Because I have more than one blog, a number of readers have had a hard time locating the recipes even though they have made them before.  In a effort to make it easier for everyone I will begin the process of transferring all of the Fiddle recipes onto The Maili Files (since this is the main blog everyone is used to accessing the most.)

This recipe can hardly looks like a diet recipe because it is elegant enough to serve at a dinner party.  But don't let the fancy French name fool you.  A "Paillard is just a piece of meat that has been pounded flat.  It makes the cooking time speed up and gives the meat more flavor.   This recipe is super easy and quick to make, so it works well for mid-week family dinner if you are in a hurry.

Here are the step-by-step pictures and directions.

Cut chicken breast in half diagonally 

Whole chicken breast on the left.
Breast cut in half on the right

 Place each half between the plastic wrap and pound
with the FLAT side of the mallet.  (if you don't have a mallet
then you can use a rolling pin.)  Kids love helping with the 
pounding part of this job!

(Breast on the left before it has been pounded.
Breast on the right pounded into a Paillard"

Sautéing the Paillards in grape seed oil.  Season with 
kosher salt before cooking.  

Remove cooked breasts to a pan and add a teaspoon 
more grapeseed oil (or olive oil) to sauté the garlic.

Pour in a half cup of white wine to deglaze the pan and get all of
flavorful brown bits from the seared chicken into your sauce.  Yummy!

Add quartered artichoke hearts, red pepper flakes, lemon
juice and capers.  (Capers are optional.  I adore them.  If you
don't like them then just leave them out.

A Paillard is just a piece of meat that has been pounded flat and cooked quickly. You could add butter or cream if you want to but since I love lemon, capers and tangy things I liked it just exactly as it was. You could add fresh minced flat-leaf parsley if you like.

Makes 6 servings of 1 breast each

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil or olive oil
kosher salt

1 teaspoon grapeseed oil or olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
Red Pepper Flakes to taste (usually 1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon)
Juice from a half lemon
2 tablespoons capers, optional (I adore capers!)

Trim fat from chicken breasts. Cut chicken breasts in half. Place one half between plastic wrap and pound with flat side of a mallet. Repeat with the remaining five halves.

Season each paillard (pounded breast) generously with kosher salt.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, put 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Cook breasts until golden brown on each side. This is very quick. Should be about a minute in a half per side. You may want to start with high heat and turn heat down to medium-high)

Remove cooked breasts to a plate. In the skillet with all the yummy browned bits, add another teaspoon of olive oil and the minced garlic. Cook garlic for a minute or two. Add white wine and deglaze the pan to get all the yummy brown bits off the bottom. Let wine reduce for about a minute. Add artichoke hearts, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and capers.

Serve over orzo, pasta, rice or quinoa. Put the starch under the chicken and sauce so the sauce mixes in with the orzo or whatever you decide to make.

I realize carrots may not exactly go with this, but my kids love them so we had sliced raw carrots on the side. The sweetness of the carrots was a nice foil to the acid in the lemon.

203 Calories per serving


Excellent and fast! This recipe, including side dishes, took about 30 minutes, including all prep! The only thing faster was how quickly my kids gobbled it up. My son wanted seconds before I even sat down at the table. I served it over quinoa (steamed with sautéed onion, yellow bell pepper and chicken broth) and simple steamed summer squashes with fresh herbs. The only thing I altered was tossing the chicken back in the pan to coat it with the sauce before plating as there wasn't much sauce and I didn't want anyone cheated out of flavor--ha! I have one question about the pan you used. It looks like cast iron, but I've heard that acid sauces pick up a metallic taste when cooked in cast iron...I used my All Clad just to be safe but would love your feedback on that. Maybe it's just a kitchen myth. Thanks for a super easy, well loved recipe. This one is for sure going into the regular rotation!

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