Whip Smart Kitchen

Recipes, methods & musings for the whip-smart home cook

The ringer: chicken paillard with three-herb sauce

French, RecipeLeannda CavalierComment

This post was originally published on my old blog. This version may contain minor edits and updates. The original is preserved at Recipe Repository


I can solve four of your problems right now.

No, really!

The catch? You don’t get to specify which problems, but if you’re here I bet these ones resonate with you:

1. ”I want an impressive meal, but I’ve made the same lasagna recipe from the back of the pasta box the last 10 times we’ve had company.”

2. ”I don’t have enough time to make dinner” / “I don’t feel like making dinner if it’s going to take time”

3. ”My chicken breasts shrink when I cook them! It’s like they hopped in the frying pan and decided to join the itty bitty… chicky committee.”*

4. ”I’m always terrified my chicken isn’t going to cook through. The outside gets burnt before I can get the middle cooked!”

I know your pain.

Chicken Paillard. It sounds so regal, right?


All it is? Skinny chicken. Not skinny like low-calorie (which is BS anyway). Skinny as in you cut it open and beat it until it’s skinny.  

Way harsh, Tai.

Why would you bother doing all of that? Let’s turn to another name for explanation.

You may also hear this dish called an escalope. Sound familiar?  Escalope… Scallops! Think scalloped potatoes and you’re on the right track—cut thin for quick cooking and even distribution.  

This has an added bonus for chicken: you lose less liquid from quick cooking times and the pounding tenderizes the meat, so your chicken stays soft and juicy!

I realize that when you’re looking through the steps of the recipe for the chicken it looks like a lot. But I promise that once you do the first chicken breast it will go so fast you won’t believe it.  You only have to cook for 2 minutes each side!  With a regular chicken breast it takes about 4-6 minutes on each side, maybe more if they’re super thick.

Really, just try it once. Keep this recipe around and you can have a quick, impressive meal in your back pocket so you can actually spend time with your guests outside the kitchen, or even just for a post-work meal when you can’t bear the thought of cooking for longer than 15 minutes.  

You can serve this chicken plain or with any sauce you’d normally serve it with, but in spirit of the season, I suggest this summery three-herb sauce.  It’s minty, a little sweet, and so refreshing!

Chicken paillard

Serves six

Three-Herb Summer Sauce

*Yup, that’s where that landed. 

**You’ll know the chicken is done when it has dark brown sear marks and no pink remains on the outside. Don’t worry too much about the inside — it will continue to cook while resting.