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Grilled Chicken Paillarde

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Antique Walnut & Pewter Fork circ. 1880 Bohemia
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Recipe by: Chef John V., A Good Cooking Recipe!

Definition: Paillarde, ("pie-yard"), French; a lightly pounded and flattened cut of poultry or veal that is grilled quickly over a hot fire.

Serving size: 2

Preparation time: about 45 minutes or less

Amount/Measure/Ingredient:

For the chicken --
(2) 7- or 8-ounce chicken breasts, boneless, skinless and trimmed of all fat ; tenderloin removed.
2 tablespoons olive oil, not extra virgin
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper -- freshly ground
1 tablespoon parsley -- chopped
1 teaspoon chives -- chopped
1 teaspoon rosemary -- chopped
1 teaspoon thyme -- chopped
1 teaspoon summer savory-- chopped--optional
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, no seeds (look for ancho or New Mexico chile flakes)
For the vegetables --
4 cubes red bell peppers, cut 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches
4 cubes green peppers, cut 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches
4 cubes yellow peppers, cut 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches
4 cubes onions, cut 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches
4 slices zucchini, cut 1/2 inch thick
4 slices yellow summer squash, cut 1/2 inch thick
1 baking potato -- baked, cooled and cut in half the long way
1/2 teaspoon garlic -- fresh, minced fine (not pre-chopped or peeled)
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil (not extra virgin)
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
For the garnish --
Use sprigs of fresh herbs and edible flowers for a garnish.

Preparation:

For the chicken --
Prepare or have your butcher prepare the chicken breasts by removing the bones, skin, fat and tenderloin. Save the tenderloin (the small finger-like piece of chicken on the underside of the breast) for another dish. Place the chicken between pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly until the breast is of even thickness, about 1/2 inch. Brush both sides with the olive oil, sprinkle with the chopped fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Refrigerate covered until ready for grilling. 

For the vegetables --
Wash, then bake the potato and let it cool. Wash and trim the vegetables and cut into the appropriate sizes. Combine the garlic, ketchup, soy, olive oil and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Toss the cut vegetables in the mixture to coat well. Cut the baked potato in half and rub the cut side with olive oil and salt. Skewer the vegetables on bamboo or metal skewers. Refrigerate the vegetables and potato until ready for grilling. 

For the garnish --
Select fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, parsley and edible flowers such as pansies, marigolds or herb blossoms for the garnish. Wash and trim them, then cover with a damp towel and refrigerate to prevent them from wilting.

Putting it all together on the grill --
Start your grill and get it hot, about 475 degrees F. If you are using charcoal try and get real hardwood charcoal! When the grill is hot, place all ingredients (the chicken, the vegetables and the potato) on the grill. Arrange the items around the edges so as not to burn them. Turn the vegetable skewer and the potato over several times to cook them. Move them to the center of the grill if necessary to add flavor and color. Before turning the chicken, which you want to do once or twice, brush it with a little more olive oil to prevent sticking. When all items are cooked, usually about 7-8 or 9 minutes, place them on a warm serving plate. The vegetables should be removed from the skewers and the grilled potato placed alongside the chicken. Garnish with the fresh herbs and flowers and serve immediately.

This dish cooks quickly, so don't leave it unattended or it will burn easily. Remember that grilling doesn't mean burnt, crispy or charred to oblivion. Perfectly grilled foods are cooked with grill marks, not burn marks and are enhanced by the flavor of the grill itself. It is also best to add a large quantity of BBQ sauce at the very end of the grilling process so as not to have the sugars contained in them burn and impart a scorched taste. Go for natural flavors that complement one another and a contrast of textures such as crisp vegetables, juicy meats and soft potatoes. Oh yes! Don't forget the fresh herbs and flowers of spring, summer and fall.

Suggested Wine: Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon or Fume Blanc

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