French Bistro Night


When our kids are sick usually I do not plan nor do have any desire to prepare a project dinner. Yesterday we had one sick child and it was cold and rainy out, so we were house ridden. I was starting to go a bit crazy being stuck in the house, and since the sick one was content watching a movie and the well one was happily playing, I decided to take on a project meal. This meal was very good, but definitely not one to make during the week–way too time consuming. The dinner was herb marinated grilled chicken paillards, oven roasted potatoes, and beet and endive salad with garlic and herb vinaigrette. I did make some modifications, because I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand.

Herb-Marinated Grilled Chicken Paillards with Pan Sauce


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced, 1 tablespoon juice reserved
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (I used green onion)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves (I used about 1.5 TBSP fresh rosemary)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt, for seasoning
  • Pepper, for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup white wine (omitted)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I used 1.5 c. since I omitted the wine)1 tablespoon cold butter


  1. One by one, place the chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, or inside of a ziploc bag, and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin or heavy-bottomed pan until about 1/2-inch thick. In a new ziploc bag, combine the zest and all but 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice with 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the shallots, garlic, and a little more than 2 tablespoons of each of the chopped fresh herbs. (Reserve the remaining chopped herbs.) Add the pounded chicken breasts to the herb mixture and turn to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper and put in the refrigerator to marinate, at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook, turning once, until cooked through and golden brown on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Cook the breasts 2 at a time if the pan is too small. Transfer to a serving platter and keep warm.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the white wine (if using) to the pan, scraping to loosen any brown bits, and reduce until almost dry. Add the chicken broth and reduce by half, then off the heat add the reserved herbs and cold butter, swirling to melt the butter and thicken the sauce. By the time my chicken was done the herbs and bits had really scortched, so the sauce didn’t turn out well, so I didn’t use it, but the chicken was fabulous anyway. Pour over the chicken paillards and serve immediately.

Oven-Roasted Potatoes


  • 1/2 pound purple Peruvian potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 1/2 pound red bliss potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 1/2 pound small new potatoes, scrubbed clean (I used all new potatoes)
  • 8 small garlic cloves
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and quartered
  • Rosemary or thyme sprigs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil


  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut the Peruvian potatoes in half or in quarters, about the same size as the small new potatoes. Do the same for the red bliss potatoes. Place all potatoes, garlic cloves, shallot quarters and rosemary sprigs on a baking sheet. Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle oil on top. Toss all to combine and coat in oil.
  3. Place the potatoes in the oven and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, shaking the baking sheet occasionally, until the potatoes are nicely browned and fork tender and the garlic cloves and shallots are caramelized.
  4. Remove rosemary sprigs and serve immediately.

Beet and Endive Salad with Garlic and Herb Vinaigrette

Roasting the Beets


  • 3 to 4 small-sized red beets, greens trimmed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt, for seasoning
  • 4 large or 6 small heads Belgian endive, cored (I didn’t have endive, so I used spinach leaves)
  • Garlic and Herb Vinaigrette, recipe follows


    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.Place a large sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Place the beets on top, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then fold the long and short edges of the aluminum foil up to the middle and roll together, making a packet with the beets inside. Put in the oven and roast until fork-tender, about 1 1/2 hours. (Can be done a day or two ahead of time.)
    2. Allow to cool, then slip the skins from the beets, trim the ends, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside.



    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • Salt, for seasoning
    • Pepper, for seasoning
    • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives (I used green onion)
    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves (I used 1 tsp. fresh rosemary)
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
    • 1/4 cup olive oil


    1. In a small glass bowl, melt the salt in the vinegar, then add the pepper, shallot, garlic, mustard, and herbs and combine well. Whisk in the olive oil in slow, steady stream until the dressing is thickened. Alternately, place all ingredients in a glass jar, close the lid, and shake vigorously.

    Assemble the Salad:

    1. Quarter the endives lengthwise, then slice crosswise into 1/2-inch thick moons. Combine the beets and endive in a salad bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately.

    French Bistro Night:


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