Chicken Paillard with Olive Tapenade

I was recently reminded how good a thinly pounded, quickly grilled chicken breast can be, at Bar Pitti in Manhattan.  Their grilled chicken breast is served with chopped endive and sundried tomatoes  on top and is the perfect light lunch or late night meal (it was, in fact, 10:30 in the evening). 

This reminded me of a similar dish we used to make at Po Restaurant, which was topped with black olive tapenade and a pile of salad.  I happen to have some absolutely beautiful lettuce and arugula from my neighbor Beppi’s vegetable garden, so it felt like the perfect time to make this light, summery dish. 

First, address the chicken breasts–they must be boneless, skinless and pounded thin.  Even if they are labeled as “thinly cut”, you may still need to pound them  to get them to an adquate thinness, so that they grill quickly and remain moist.  Between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, lay out each breast and lightly pound until less than 1/2″ thick–they may become a bit raggedy around the edges, but that’s OK.  Moisten with oil, and set aside until ready to grill.

Make sure the grill is on high and super-hot.  Grill each breast for a total of about 5 minutes and remove.  The tapenade is simply placed on the hot breast once it comes off the grill, along with some lemon zest.  On top is a salad of lettuce and arugula dressed with oil and lemon, along with some chopped tomatoes.  Summer’s here!

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