Simply put, the act of butterflying a piece of meat is to slice it from the side, leaving the far side attached so you can fold it open afterwards. When you butterfly chicken breast, the result has the shape of a butterfly, hence the name.
What you need
- A skinless, boneless chicken breast
- A chopping board
- A medium-sized sharp knife. I tend to use a boning knife or a filleting knife.
How to butterfly chicken breast
Lay the chicken breast flat on the cutting board. If you look at the picture, you can see that the ‘inside’ of the chicken breast is on the left hand side. On this side it goes down and then diagonal towards the right. On the right hand side the meat goes straight down. This means we’ll be cutting from the right hand side to get a really nice butterfly shape. If you have the other breast then you need to cut from the other side. If you prefer you can flip the chicken so you don’t have to cut with your weaker hand.
Lay your hand flat on the chicken breast to stabilise it. Make sure to keep your fingers out of the knife’s way. Now start your incision at the top, from the right hand side (left if you have the other breast), and slice down. Make sure you keep the far side attached at the top half.
Slice down, trying to move the knife sideways as little as possible to get a nice even slice. If you have an ultra-sharp professional knife you may be able to do this by just gliding the knife through. Us mere mortals may need to move the knife a bit to keep it moving. Try to keep both slices of roughly even thickness.