The kitchen at our house belonged to my mother. It was her territory. She was quite the cook and wasn't afraid to tackle wild game. She'd make fantastic fried squirrel or rabbit and happily added milk gravy and homemade biscuits to the menu. She could stand for an hour or so and fry dozens of little blue gill fish ... after she had already made a giant bowl of potato salad and a big casserole of delicious baked beans. But ... when it came to cooking a raccoon or working at processing a deer ... she was absent! That was not her thing. That is when Daddy stepped in ... and most of that work took place in his shop in the garage! This old meat mallet was not something we had when I was a kid. I think he must have found it in a box of junk at a yard sale and took it home to put a handle on it. I do remember him working on some beef and venison with it, but I was an adult by then.
I think this is probably a 1940s or 1950s vintage of a perfect mallet! When Daddy died, I found it in his kitchen drawer (he had his own drawer where he kept things separated from Mother's kitchen gadgets)! I brought it home with intentions of just displaying it in my kitchen. Then ... I used it and I'll never used another mallet again. This thing is incredible! It is just the right weight and the handle is the perfect length for my swing! I'm pretty sure Daddy put the handle on it, because it is secured with a couple nails. Daddy was a carpenter and he used nails for everything! I used it today to make Chicken Paillard and I'll tell you how easy that recipe is. It would have been too fancy for my mom and dad, but we have always loved it at my house!
I started with a boned, skinned chicken breast that probably weighed 12 to 14 ounces. That was plenty for two servings and some scraps to cook for the dog! I cut the breast into two large pieces and two smaller pieces, using a sharp fillet knife. Then I placed a plastic bag over the meat ... and a double layer of paper towels over that. I pounded the meat until it was a little more than a quarter inch thick. Just took seconds with Daddy's mallet! I'm trying to use up all my frozen herbs, because the new herb plants are in the ground and I'll start snipping them soon. So, I sprinkled frozen thyme over the meat, added a good sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper ... and a sprinkle of smokey paprika. I stay away from salt and the addition of lemon juice to this dish adds plenty of the salty flavor later. Use your fingers to push the herbs and spices into the meat.
Getting this beautiful browned surface is easy. Heat your skillet until it is hot, then add a Tablespoon of olive oil and two pats of butter. It will melt quickly ... so immediately add the chicken (herb side down) and turn the heat down to medium-high. Turn the meat in about two minutes. It should already be beautifully browned. Continue to brown the other side and when the meat is done (in another couple minutes) remove it to a platter. Make a sauce by adding 2 Tablespoons of butter to the pan drippings and 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Who has a 1/2 cup of chicken broth? I keep chicken base/bouillon powder for this purpose. Just mix up a little of it! While that sauce starts to simmer, squeeze the juice from half a lemon. Drizzle this over the chicken and use the remaining lemon wedges to add more flavor after the meat is plated.
The ingredients for my
side dish of fried corn came from left overs and a couple ears of corn that needed to be used! I had homemade tacos this week and had some of the toppings left ... chopped onion, tomato and a little leaf lettuce! So, I cut the corn off the ear and fried all those ingredients in a little canola oil ... no butter because there was plenty in the chicken recipe! I did add a sprinkle of pink salt to this.