Daniel Boulud's Go-To Chicken Dish For Low Effort, High Reward Flavor

We're all on the hunt for dishes that don't take up too much of our time but are also interesting and flavorful. Professional chefs are no exception to this. Daniel Boulud is a fan of chicken paillard for this very reason. Thinly-pounded chicken breasts combined with simple, tasty seasoning and cooked over high heat, Boulud's chicken paillard is a great dish that meets all the requirements of a no-fuss meal.

Boulud told Food & Wine he favors chicken paillard because of its simplicity and ease of cooking. "Chicken paillard is a quick and flavorful way to cook a chicken breast," he explained.

Though no stranger to intricacies, Boulud's chicken dishes, from his colorful and spicy chicken tagine to his rich poulet a la creme, all burst with flavor derived from simple ingredients. In the case of his chicken paillard, it is exceptionally easy to make, requires no tricks, and can go from raw ingredients to a plated meal in no time at all.

Quick and easy chicken paillard

Think of Daniel Boulud's chicken paillard as grilled chicken, with a twist. You take chicken breasts, and either butterfly or slice them cleanly in half. Using whatever equipment you can find — a heavy skillet is just as effective as a proper meat mallet — you'll pound them out thin. This will not only tenderize them but create a thinner cut that cooks 10 times faster. It's also a great way to make an ingredient stretch. 

Once the meat is tenderized, it is marinated in an assortment of herbs and spices. Boulud told Food & Wine he likes thyme, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and cracked pepper but you can adapt the seasonings to your liking. Boulud then grills the seasoned chicken over direct, high heat on both sides. Thanks to the earlier tenderizing, this will cook very quickly. Off the grill, the chicken gets brushed with some Dijon mustard and topped with toasted, buttery bread crumbs.

Chicken paillard will pair well with several sides. You could serve it, as Boulud suggests, with tomatoes and an arugula salad or have it with rice or an assortment of vegetables like roasted potatoes, carrots, or green beans. The combinations really are endless. However you flavor it and whatever you serve it with, the chicken paillard will be moist, tender, and bursting with flavor — all, accounting for the marinating time, in under an hour.