Chicken Paillard with Wine and Capers sounds like everything that it’s not: fussy in a Julia Child sort of way, terribly fattening as so many French dishes are, and far better suited to a grown up’s palate than a child’s.
In fact, once you get your chicken pounded, which you can bang out in five minutes (no pun intended), the rest goes quickly. It practically qualifies as a 15 Minute Fix – a recipe that can be done start to finish in a quarter of an hour.
Recipes like this one do often load on the butter. Here, I use grapeseed oil to brown the chicken, which cuts down the amount of saturated fat, and rely on butter solely to flavor the sauce. If you read my piece recently on Five Favorite Fats, you’d know that butter is one of them, but that a little does go a long way. Butter and all, this chicken comes in at under 250 calories a serving.
As for the kid friendly factor, mine gobble this down with as much enthusiasm as when I set a plate of Chicken Parmesan in front of them. The chicken is tender, the capers lend a saltiness and tang that balances gorgeously with the butter. The amount of alcohol in the dish per serving is quite small, and much of it burns off as it cooks. You can also simply leave any sauce off your child’s plate if you’re concerned, although you may just find they sleep better at night (perhaps that’s the secret to all those well-behaved French children I’ve been reading about lately).
Pair this with loads of vegetables and salad on the side, not hard to come by this time of year, and you are all set for family supper.
Bon appetit, mon’amie.
Chicken Paillard with Wine and Capers
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 large half breasts)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons capers in brine, drained
Makes 4 servings.
Cut the chicken breasts horizontally in half to make 4 equal chicken breast pieces. Put one piece between two sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and use a heavy mallet to pound the breasts into 1/3-inch thick pieces.
Lightly season the breasts on both sizes with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread the flour onto a dinner plate.
In a skillet large enough to hold all of the chicken pieces in one layer, heat the grapeseed oil over high heat, swirling it evenly across the pan.
While that heats up, dredge the chicken in flour, lightly coating each side and gently shaking off excess flour.
Once the pan is hot, lay the chicken in the oil and cook it on one side until golden brown and the meat looks cooked around the edges, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Turn over and brown the second size for another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until the chicken is just cooked through. Transfer to a serving plate and reserve in a warm spot in the kitchen, say near the stove.
Into that same skillet, over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallots and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook for another 1 1/2 minutes or so. Don’t let it boil too rapidly or all of the liquid will evaporate. Add the capers and remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter, stir and remove from heat.
Immediately pour sauce over the chicken and serve.