Chicken Angst

pail·lard (pī yär′; Fr pȧ yȧr′) noun a slice of meat, esp. veal or chicken, pounded until it is very thin and grilled quickly at high heat. Chicken can get a bad rap sometimes.  I know that once in a while, chicken can get boring,…

Chicken Angst

pail·lard (pī yär′; Fr pȧ yȧr′)
a slice of meat, esp. veal or chicken, pounded until it is very thin and grilled quickly at high heat.

Chicken can get a bad rap sometimes.  I know that once in a while, chicken can get boring, and it can even get tricky to cook.  We’re so careful to make sure chicken is thoroughly cooked that sometimes we err on the side of overcooking. When I find myself getting into a rut, I pull this recipe out from my mental file cabinet.  It usually does the trick.

Chicken Paillard with Prosciutto addresses all my chicken issues.  First off, prosciutto tends to make everything a little more exciting — it’s that bling for poultry.  When meat is pounded thin in the paillard style, that means it’s a uniform thickness, so all parts of the chicken will cook evenly and very quickly.  It also breaks down the chicken so that it is nice and tender.

While your butcher will probably be more than happy to transform your chicken breasts into paillards, I prefer to do it myself.  You don’t even need a proper meat pounder/tenderizer.  I just use my handy (but very heavy) cast iron skillet.  I let out all my chicken angst and channel my aggression into making nice, thin paillards.

I first made this recipe last year, after reading Mark Bitman’s Bitten Blog and watching his Minimalist podcast with guest Jamie Oliver.  Jamie calls it Parmesan Chicken, but I think he left out the serious star, the prosciutto.

This is a simple supper that is quick to make, perfect for weeknights.

Chicken Paillard with Prosciutto


4 boneless chicken breasts
Salt (not too much, the prosciutto is already salty)
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon zest
Parmesan cheese
Herbs of your choice (Thyme works nicely. Today I happened to use cilantro because it's all I had that was fresh.)
Salad greens
Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar


When the paillards are cooked, slice and plate over fresh salad greens. Drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and serve.

As seen on The Minimalist Podcast, January 7, 2009


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    • Liren

      LOL, yeah, I like to pimp out my chicken with some prosciutto bling. Oh dear, did I really just say that?

  3. Carrie

    This sounds awesome! I don’t think you can go wrong with Parmesan and prosciutto. And gorgeous pic! It’s so colorful and looks so fresh and healthy.

    • Liren

      Thank you, Carrie. You’re so right, you can’t go wrong with Parmesan and Prosciutto. They make such a great team!

  4. Jenn

    Hahahaha… I can’t get over that you called prosciutto chicken’s “bling”. Right now I have this strange image of my head of a chicken (the kind you see in the grocery) pimped out with some lady chickens and lots of gold jewellry.

    • kitchenworthy

      LOL, Jenn, you’re hilarious!!! I can picture it, too!

  5. Stella

    Nice Liren, this looks wonderful. And it is so true about the drying of chicken breast in reference to overcooking due to fear as well as a lack of uniformity in the meat’s thickness. Next time i make chicken breast, I’m going to go Paillard Style!

    • Liren

      Stella, thank you! Definitely go Paillard Style — have fun with it!

    • Liren

      Thanks, Jean! One day, we’ll have to plan a Bay Area bloggers dinner! Wouldn’t that be fun?

    • Liren

      Hi Donna, thank you! I go a little photo crazy, so at least the collage helps me organize and present it better :)

  6. Nasi Lemak Lover

    This look really good, must try this soon. Thanks for sharing.

    • Liren

      Hi Nicole, I always feel a bit better about chicken after I make this. Making the paillards is better than kickboxing :) I’m glad you like the pictures!

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