Grilled Chicken Paillard with Arugula, Fennel & Potato Salad
This grilled chicken paillard is light and refreshing, but incredibly dynamic. Warm grilled chicken is topped with a salad of crunchy shaved fennel, peppery arugula and tender baby potatoes. Sliced almonds give the salad crunch, golden raisins provide sweetness, and a flurry of feta adds just the right amount of saltiness. I love the subtle anise flavor of tarragon in this dish, but you can swap it out for other herbs (either a single herb or a mix), such as dill, basil, parsley and/or mint. Be sure to check out the other ingredient swaps below. To get a jumpstart on the recipe, pound out the chicken breasts the day before (refrigerate them until you’re ready to use).
Servings: 4 people
Potatoes & dressing
- ¼ cup golden raisins (or you can use regular raisins or currants)
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound fingerling or new potatoes, cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices
- 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon, divided
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to ½ to ¼–inch thickness (chicken or turkey cutlets also work well)
- Olive oil or vegetable oil for brushing chicken and grill
- 1 large fennel bulb, halved then very thinly sliced on a mandoline or with a sharp knife
- 2 cups baby arugula
- ⅓ cup toasted sliced almonds (or you can use other toasted nuts)
- 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Cook the potatoes and make the dressing
Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot water (this will plump them up).
In a large bowl, add the shallots, garlic, 1 tablespoon of the Sherry vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Place the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender but not falling apart, about 6-8 minutes. Drain the potatoes and immediately add them to the bowl with the shallots, garlic and vinegar; toss well. Drain the raisins and throw them into the bowl as well.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of Sherry vinegar with the grainy mustard, honey, 2 teaspoons of chopped tarragon and the extra virgin olive oil.
Grill the chicken
Brush the chicken breasts on both sides with a bit of oil, then season them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of chopped tarragon evenly over each (both sides).
Lightly brush the grill grates with oil. Grill the chicken breasts until golden on each side and cooked through, about 2-4 minutes per side.
Finish the salad and serve
To finish the salad, add the fennel, arugula and sliced almonds to the bowl with the potatoes. Toss with dressing to coat (you might not need it all—save any leftover for serving). Taste and season with salt and pepper.
To serve, place a chicken breast on each plate. Mound the salad over top. Crumble a nice amount of feta cheese over each, and serve with any additional dressing on the side.
Do Ahead: You can cook the potatoes and toss them with the vinegar mixture up to 2 hours ahead (leave them at room temperature). Also, you can refrigerate the dressing for up to 2 days.
- If you don’t have an outdoor grill you can use a grill pan instead, or just cook the chicken in a skillet!
- You can pound the chicken breasts yourself (check out this other paillard post for tips on how to do it) or you can ask your butcher to pound them out for you. Alternatively, you can use chicken cutlets instead (plan on about 2-3 cutlets per person, depending on their size).
- It’s important to brush both the grill and the chicken with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Also, make sure the grill is preheated and hot before grilling. A good pair of tongs is essential for flipping the chicken.
- You can use regular raisins or currants in place of the golden raisins.
- You can swap out the arugula for other baby greens.
- Feel free to use any toasted nuts you have on hand. Also, you can swap out the feta for goat cheese or shaved parmesan (or omit it altogether for a dairy free version).
- I love Sherry vinegar, which is rich and subtly sweet, but you can use red wine vinegar or white balsamic instead. Also, you can use Dijon mustard if that’s what you have.