Chicken Paillard with tomato, fennel, and olive 鶏胸肉パイヤードのオーブン焼き, トマト, フェネルとオリーブのせ

japanese cake

We saw this on one of the episodes of “Avec Eric” and thought this was a perfect small dish to go with wine. I mostly followed his recipe. This dish requires a lots of ingredients and chopping but is relatively easy to cook and tastes great. One chicken breast (picture below) will be perfect as a main dish per person. You could cut it into wedges like a pizza and that will be the perfect as “Otsumami” おつまみ or drinking snack. Fresh fennel may be a difficult ingredient to get in Japan. We like its unique anise-like flavor.

I did not really measure each ingredient as usual and the amounts are guesstimates for two chicken breasts. Please refer to Eric Ripert’s original recipe for more precise instructions.

Chicken breast: I used boneless skinless breasts. I butterflied them and then pounded the thicker parts with a meat pounder to make the thickness even as well as sort of round in shape. I seasoned it salt and pepper.

Toppings: Place all the ingredients in a bowl; fennel (1/2 cups, sliced paper thin. I used a Japanese mandolin called “Benriner“), shallots (2 small, thinly sliced), garlic (one fat clove, finely chopped), caper (1 tbs, packed in oil), tomato (4 Campari, skinned and thinly sliced), pine nuts (2 tbs, dry roasted on a frying pan), fresh thyme (very small amount from our garden, finely chopped), green olives (10 small pitted and sliced) and raisins (2 tbs, plumped up by soaking in sake, the original recipe uses, more appropriately, white wine). Season with salt and pepper and good olive oil (few tbs) and mix.

Baking: I placed two chicken paillards in a 12 inch non-stick flying pan (or a large baking dish), put the toppings on, drizzled good olive oil over and around the paillards. I placed the pan in a convection oven (top rack) preheated to 450F for about 15-17 minutes or until the chicken is done.

I placed the paillard on the plate, spooned the pan juice over and drizzled good extra-virgin olive oil and garnished with finely chopped parsley and basil (very pitiful looking basil –the last of the season from our herb garden).

Au jus from the chicken and vegetable mixed with olive oil makes a wonderful sauce. We mopped up the sauce with my wife’s home baked rye and whole wheat boule.  Although white wines such as Chardonnay or lighter reds (Rhone, Languedoc or Pinot noir either from new or old worlds) may have been a better pairing, we had this with William Knuttel Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. This is a very decent California cab, if not spectacular but medium bodied, and went very well with this dish. Despite so many ingredients, all the individual flavors came through with a nice rounding taste of fresh fruity olive oil. The veggies on top kept the chicken moist and succulent. Overall this is a very nice dish. Although I have not tried it, if you can not get fresh fennel, I think, celery may be used instead. The flavors will be different but it may work.

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