Paillards are boneless cuts of meat that are pounded flat, then cooked quickly.
To make your own, start with a boneless cut of meat. If it is 2 to 3 cm thick (about an inch) or more, consider cutting that in half first. Use the smooth end of a meat mallet to pound with (not the rough end — that is for tenderizing.) You can pound the meat as is on a cutting board; some people like to place it between sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper.
The recipe you are preparing the meat for will tell you how thin to get the meat. Usually, for instance, you make pork, beef, chicken and turkey paillards about 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thick.
In some recipes, paillard is used to refer to a boneless fish fillet. When fish is made into a paillard, the pounding to make it thin is unnecessary.
The American food writer James Beard wrote:
“Paillard: This is more nearly a minute steak in terms of cooking time. It is… pounded thin enough to cook in a trice – merely browned quickly on each side. A paillard can be delicious and is especially suitable for those with dietary problems. Like the minute steak, it is best served plain.” Beard, James. American Cookery. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company. 1972. Page 262.
Paillards cook very rapidly; don’t overcook them or they turn leathery. Paillards are usually grilled, barbequed or sautéed.
Paillard was a man who owned two chic restaurants in Paris in the late 1800s. His way of preparing and serving veal became very popular, and the technique was named after him.
Paillard in French actually means “ribald”.
|↑1||Beard, James. American Cookery. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company. 1972. Page 262.|