So what the heck's a paillard you ask? It's a chicken breast pounded to within a smidgen of its existence with a meat mallet or rolling pin. It really is just a fancy french word for an excuse to beat the crap outa' some cluck so instead of taking 20 minutes or more to cook it only takes 5 or 6. Hey you asked, so I told ya! Just don't forget to put the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap or inside a big zip bag before you start pounding it or you'll be pickin' "ickens" from your kitchen ceiling.
Last night's chicken paillard was just a pillow for the real deal - roasted cauliflower with a spicy tomato based sauce spiced up with some Garam Masala, an aromatic Indian spice blend which is "indispensable to Moghul and North Indian Cooking" so says Julie Sahni in Indian Regional Classics. I happen to absolutely love the flavor of the stuff and figured I'd take on the challenge to once again show the big guy that curry in any form is fabulous, and so are vegetables. Of course they're even more popular in this house as a filler since we're on this "moderation" kick.
Cauliflower florets are sprinkled in Garam Masala which is a mix of cumin, coriander and cardamom seeds, black peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and saffron, along with salt and a touch of cooking spray, then roasted in a hot oven for 20 minutes. Then a sauce is made from ketchup, garlic, black and red pepper and stirred into the cauliflower after which it is all returned to the oven for another 20 minutes. The result - total mind blowing flavor of the kind you've never had before - spicy, sweet, nutty, aromatic, dynamite!
Once again my source for the Roasted Manchurian Cauliflower is Cooking Light - bless their hearts. The only change I made to the recipe was to reduce the ketchup by 1/4 cup which saved 58 calories from the total, and I used cooking spray rather than the canola which saved another 80. Oh, I added a quarter cup of water to the pan with the sauce to thin it out a bit and make it go a little farther. The 1 cup serving on each plate totaled 143 calories and the chicken paillard chirped in at 175 calories (1/2 breast, coated in grated lemon rind, oregano, salt, pepper and minced garlic, then cooked in the grill pan for 3 minutes per side). We had a side salad of spinach, red onion, cherry tomatoes and a touch of goat cheese.
The big guy said dinner was "exceptional" - especially the ...oh no...don't say it...don't even think it....yup it's true....cauliflower! Just what is this world coming to?