It is one of my (many) guilty pleasures to lay in bed on Saturday and Sunday mornings and watch the Food Network. Mostly I doze in and out of the segments and only vaguely recollect the delicacies my favorite chefs have prepared. Visions of garden parties hosted by the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten and chocolate cupcakes baked by the curvaceous British maven Nigella Lawson dance and flit through my head for the rest of the day after I rise.
But there's one thing that always wakes me from my slumber ~ jolts me awake as if I just realized that I was catering a huge black tie affair for PETA and juicy thick steaks are on the menu. The panic inducing thing that I speak of is none other than the raspy, overly enthusiastic, screeching voice of Rachael Ray.
I'd like to know just how many cups of coffee this woman drinks in a day and I'd also bet that if you cut off her hands, she'd be rendered mute. I've never seen such highly caffeinated, flailing arms, nervous chatter in all my life. And really...once Oprah puts her "My Favorite Things" seal of approval on something, is there anything other than God that can put it asunder? Cooking shows, travel shows, magazine covers, talk shows, cookbooks, cookware, TV commercials. Rachael Ray ad nausem. Somebody give me a garbage bowl, please.
But (there's always a but), Rachael can cook. I dunno about the whole 30 minute deal because I have to stop for a drink every 90 seconds while I'm preparing one of her dishes just to drown out the sound of her voice replaying in my head. "Two turns of (arms waving frantically) EVOO extra-virgin olive oil in the pan" (we know WTF it is by now, Rach. You don't have to clarify (wave your arms some more) the meaning of EVOO Every. Single. Freaking. Time.)
Despite the fact that the mere sight of the woman makes me break out into a cold sweat, I will admit to having and using Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals 2 cookbook. I'll also confess that everything I've ever prepared from the book so far has been very good and this Chicken Paillard is no exception. Quick, easy, fresh and delicious, it's one of my favorite go-to dinners when I'm crunched for time.
Rach, honey, you drive me absolutely nuts but I totally dig your food.
Rachael Ray's Chicken Paillard
* 4 small whole chicken breast cutlets
* Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, plus 2 tablespoons
* 4 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped and finely chopped, about 2 tablespoons
* 2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley, a handful
* 1 lemon zested and juiced
* Coarse salt and black pepper
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
* 1 sack, 5 ounces, mixed baby salad greens, available in produce section
Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Arrange the chicken in a shallow baking dish and drizzle meat with extra-virgin olive oil to just coat the chicken, about 1 1/2 tablespoons, total. Combine chopped herbs and lemon zest and sprinkle over the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Using your hands, rub the chicken and coat evenly with the herbs and seasonings. Wash hands with hot water and soap. Using tongs, transfer chicken in a single layer to hot skillet and cook chicken cutlets 3 or 4 minutes on each side. Cover cooked chicken loosely with foil to keep warm and repeat with remaining cutlets.
Return pan to heat and add butter. When the butter melts, add flour to the butter and cook, stirring with whisk, a minute or 2 to make a light roux. Whisk in chicken broth. When broth thickens to just coat the back of a spoon, remove pan from heat and turn off burner.
Toss salad greens with lemon juice and coarse salt. Drizzle 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil around the bowl and re-toss greens.
To serve, cover the bottom of a dinner plate with warm sauce. Top with a small pile of salad greens and 2 chicken cutlets.