Spring Chicken Paillard with Lemon and Rosemary

March 16, 2016

chicken paillard 605x408

I’ve been looking forward to the spring. It’s been a really cold winter, and the welcoming signs of blossoms and sunnier days have lifted my mood significantly over the past few weeks.

The winter is one of my favourite seasons, but even so, I can get a bit melancholic after a while. I really fancied something lighter, fresher and a bit more ‘zippy’.

Having eaten mostly braised meats, stews and roasts for the past few months I’m starting to feel somewhat bloated and ‘stodged out’.

This recipe is super simple to make and the ingredients are easy to get hold of. Don’t be afraid of the word paillard, it’s just a fancy French word for thin chicken steaks. They are easy to make yourself but you could ask one of the butchers in the Market to do it for you.

The other great thing about this recipe is it’s really adaptable. You can switch the lemon for lime, you could swap the rosemary for tarragon, sage or any other herb you fancy. This makes it much more achievable for busy people like myself, when sometimes all you want to do is throw something in pan and have dinner in a few minutes.

I would serve this with some steamed vegetables or a tomato salad, with feta and olives. It would also go great as a sandwich – slapped between a toasted ciabatta with some lightly pickled pink onions and a pesto mayonnaise.


serves 3-4 as part of a main course

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • ½ tbsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, skin on gently crushed with side of a knife
  • The peel of half a lemon
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Optional extras

  • Lemon zest
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Grilled tomatoes


  1. First you need to paillard the chicken breasts if you haven’t got a butcher to do it for you. All you need to do is place each breast on a flat sturdy surface, and with a sharp knife, slice them in half horizontally so you have two thin breast pieces. Repeat with the other breast. Now take each half and place between two sheets of cling film and beat with the base of a heavy saucepan or skillet, until the breasts are flattened out to about the thickness of a pound coin.
  2. Now, make the marinade by combining the rosemary, garlic, lemon peel, wine vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place the chicken steaks into the marinade and mix thoroughly with your hands. Leave at least an hour, or overnight ideally.
  3. To cook the chicken, put a large heavy griddle pan and put on to a high heat. When the pan is searing hot, place the steaks place in the pan. Leave to cook for about two to four minutes before turning and repeating. You should get nice char marks on the chicken which adds to the flavour, but of course you can do these in a frying pan or even the BBQ.
  4. Remove from the pan when cooked and leave to rest for a few minutes. Serve on a warm plate and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh lemon zest and the grilled tomatoes if you like.

The Outdoor Market is home to a range of fresh fruit and vegetable traders, and is open from 7:00am to 6:00pm, Monday to Saturday.

While the Food Hall hosts a range of meat and dairy traders, and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Saturday. 

You’re sure to find some ingredients to give you cooking inspiration at Leicester Market!