CHICKEN PAILLARD WITH TOMATOES, FENNEL AND OLIVES

CHICKEN PAILLARD WITH TOMATOES, FENNEL AND OLIVES
Reprinted with permission from Avec Eric: A Culinary Journey with Eric Ripert (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2010). Copyright © 2010 by Avec Eric LLC.

Serves 4

1 cup diced seeded peeled tomatoes
3/4 cup thinly sliced fennel
1/2 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup raisins, plumped in dry white wine
2 tablespoons capers
4 thyme sprigs, leaves removed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and lightly pounded flat
3 tablespoons fresh basil chiffonade
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Toss the tomatoes, fennel, green olives, shallots, pine nuts, raisins, capers, thyme leaves and garlic in a mixing bowl. Drizzle most of the olive oil over the vegetables and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a single layer on a large baking dish. Cover the chicken with the tomato mixture and drizzle the remaining olive oil over and around the chicken. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle the basil and parsley over the chicken and serve immediately.

LYNNE'S TIPS
"Paillard" is essentially French for cutlet. Pounding meat flat tenderizes it so it cooks faster. Butterfly the breasts by slicing them almost completely in half horizontally and opening them up like a book. Then put them between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound flat using the bottom of a heavy pot.

To check doneness, press your finger into the chicken breast. If it's firm, it is done. Let the chicken rest about 10 minutes before serving.

Leftovers are dynamite over greens, or broccoli, or pasta, or couscous.