Dinner Tonight: Thomas Keller's Chicken Breasts with Tarragon
As tough as chicken breasts can be to cook—there's no fat or bone to help mitigate dryness—a pounded chicken "paillard" is as easy. It's a technique that becomes a no-brainer once you learn it, whenever sauteeing the old boneless, skinless standby. By pounding the breast into uniform thickness and watching carefully, you can turn out a surprisingly moist cutlet with plenty of caramelized surface area. Add a delicious pan sauce—this time, by one Thomas Keller—and it's a solid dinner, indeed.
Why I Picked This Recipe: I've already praised the technique with this recipe, which was a big draw, but I was also interested in Keller's combination of tarragon and curry powder in a single recipe. The fragrance and spiciness of curry powder fades subtly into the background, while the anise-y tarragon-butter sauce comes to the forefront. Together they make for an unexpected, wonderful flavor.
What Worked: The combination of classic French technique--a simple pan sauce made with shallots, wine, butter, and tarragon--along with the unusual spice profile with curry is the major achievement of this recipe.
What Didn't: My only suggestion next time would be to increase the quantities of shallot, wine, and chicken stock to make more pan sauce to go around. It's that good.
Suggested Tweaks: The recipe calls for dusting the breasts with the paprika/curry spice mixture and allowing them to sit for a couple hours; I skipped this step and cooked them straight away. But if time permits, it would allow more of the subtle curry flavor to penetrate the meat.
Get the Recipe
Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home.