There are few fancy-pants French cooking terms I care to retain, but paillard is definitely one of them.

The term refers to a piece of meat that’s been pounded thin and then grilled. It’s one of the more approachable and less complex food preparations everyone should have in a repertoire. You can use this same technique to prepare chicken thighs, chicken breasts or essentially any protein you’d prefer broken down a bit.

One of the benefits to the paillard approach is how many options you have once you have a thinly pounded piece of protein in front of you. My sons love to stuff and roll the meat with their favorite fillings; I prefer to cook my thinned meat skin-on in piping hot olive oil until the skin is extra crispy. Another perk about chicken paillard is that pounding usually tenderizes the meat enough so you don’t even need a marinade. Nonetheless, in my Chicken Paillard With Arugula Salad, I chose to marinade; you can never add too much flavor to a springtime chicken dish.

Thinning the meat gives the appearance of stretching the quantity. This time of year, when we have the boys in and out of the house with sports and teammates over at unannounced times for dinner, I need all the meat I can get to satisfy these hungry teenagers. If your family sounds at all similar, I know you’ll absolutely love this quick and easy dish.