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Chicken Paillards with Avocado and Pomegranate Salsa

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Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 103

Chicken paillards (thinly pounded chicken breasts) cook quickly and provide a delicious canvas for this inspired tart-sweet salsa.

Watch our test kitchen demo to learn a mess-free technique for seeding a pomegranate.

For the Chicken
  • Four 4- to 6-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. pomegranate molasses
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Salsa
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 medium pomegranate
  • 3 small scallions, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium firm-ripe avocados (6 to 7 oz. each), pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp. finely diced seeded jalapeño
  • 1 tsp. pomegranate molasses
  • Kosher salt
Prepare the Chicken

Pound each chicken breast between pieces of plastic wrap until about 3/8 inch thick. In a shallow bowl, stir the lemon juice, 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, the pomegranate molasses, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Add the chicken, turn to coat well, cover, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Make the Salsa

Finely grate the zest from the lemon and then squeeze 1 Tbs. juice. Pick the seeds out of the pomegranate, discarding any pith, and put them in a bowl. Add the lemon zest and juice, scallions, avocado, olive oil, parsley, jalapeño, pomegranate molasses, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Fold gently with a rubber spatula. Season to taste with more salt.

Cook the Chicken

Heat 1/2 Tbs. of the olive oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add 2 of the chicken breasts and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until lightly browned on the other side and cooked through, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 1/2 Tbs. oil and 2 chicken breasts. Serve the chicken with the salsa spooned over the top.

Serving Suggestions

Sprinkle the leftover pomegranate seeds over a Mixed Green Salad.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 430; Fat (g): fat g 29; Fat Calories (kcal): 260; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 4.5; Protein (g): protein g 26; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 19; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 20; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 310; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 65; Fiber (g): fiber g 9;

Photo: Scott Phillips

So good! I made my own molasses with Pom juice. My husband loved the bright fresh flavor. I will try it with cilantro next.

Loved it! The contrast in textures and temperatures between the chicken and salsa was amazing. Fresh, quick, delicious.

I made my own pomegranate syrup by buying POM pomegranate juice and reducing it. I make enough syrup for a couple of recipes as it keeps for a long time in the fridge. worked GREAT!! loved this recipe.

Swapped out the parsley for cilantro and thought it was excellent!

Absolutely delicious! I did not have pomegranate molasses on hand so I used a little regular molasses with some marionberry syrup instead. My husband loved it...I can't wait to make it again!

Delicious, fresh, colorful, nice balance of sweet to savory. I wouldn't change a thing, and you definitely wouldn't get the same effect without the pomegranate molasses. It added such nice glazed browning to the chicken and the aroma was a pleasant surprise. I quadrupled the recipe and had no issues, my family loved it.

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