Adapted from a recipe I created for Fine Cooking magazine’s Make It Tonight column—recipes you can make in 30 minutes or less
This dish featuring pounded chicken breasts—”paillard” is a fancy word for a thin cutlet of meat—is springtime in a skillet, full of light, bright flavors and colors. Other times of year, swap the asparagus for green and gold zucchini, potatoes, or spinach leaves. You can also vary the recipe by using half an orange instead of the lemon, or adding an herb—a few sprigs of thyme, for example, or some tarragon leaves. (Click here for more ways to celebrate spring with asparagus.)
Serve it with a refreshing glass of Pinot Grigio.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 3/4 pounds), tenders removed
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (peel and all)
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
Arrange the chicken breasts on a work surface and use a meat pounder to pound them to a uniform thickness, between 1/4 and 1/2 inch.
In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper and set aside.
In a very large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. One breast at a time, dredge both sides of the chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, and add the chicken to the skillet. Cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the add lemon and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add the asparagus and chicken to the skillet, along with any accumulated juices, nestling the chicken into the liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter or plates.
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the butter. Taste the asparagus mixture and add more salt and/or pepper if you like. Spoon the mixture over the chicken and serve.