Pounding Paillard

The term “paillard” is an older French culinary term referring to thinly-sliced or pounded cutlets of meat which has been largely replaced by the word escalope. Paillard describes cuts of meat that are thinly sliced or lightly pounded into flattened pieces that are then grilled or sautéed very quickly. Today the term more commonly used to describe this thin cut is cutlet. Paillards are made from boneless slices of chicken, turkey, veal, beef, and pork. The thin slices are generally cut from larger pieces of meat but supermarkets now have a variety of thinly sliced meats that can be used for paillards, eliminating the need to cut the thin slice before pounding. This not only shortens the cooking times considerably, but also tenderizes the meat and prevents moisture lost in cooking.

Many of the recipes we love and cook regularly call for thinly sliced or pounded meats: pork saltimbocca, veal scallopini, chicken fried steak, and braciole. Over the years, we have tried a variety of meat mallets: aluminum, wood, stainless steel, flat, round, ribbed, and waffled.

The BEST meat mallet we have ever used is a plain white rubber mallet from Home Depot. It works perfectly on all types of meat, is gentle on our cutting boards and only costs $5!! Hard to go wrong with this kitchen "tool"!