Saltimbocca is a classic Italian dish. Traditionally, the recipe calls for veal, but in our home, my mother always prepared it with skinless, boneless chicken breasts, and it’s how I prefer it. Simple yet packed with flavor, the chicken is enrobed in thinly sliced prosciutto and then topped with a sage leaf. A toothpick or skewer secures the toppings and, I believe, really helps seal in the flavors of the chicken as it gets a quick pan-fry. For my version, I pat the chicken in flour to create a light crust for the sauce to cling to, and I also believe it really helps “glue” the prosciutto and sage onto the meat.
While it's prepared throughout Italy, I had it for the first time in Rome and it was delicious. Always served as a second course, after a plate of pasta, it's succulent, and as the title literally translates, it “jumps in your mouth.”
In our home, it was served with some roasted potatoes and a lovely glass of wine. The presentation is quite fancy with a quick pan sauce made with the drippings. To serve, pour the sauce onto the serving dish first and lay the chicken on top, prosciutto and sage side up. It’s as pretty as it is delicious. It’s the perfect weeknight meal as it comes together quick and delivers lots of flavor. —Anna Francese Gass
- Prep time 45 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Serves 4
skinless boneless chicken breasts
kosher salt, divided
freshly ground black pepper
thin slices prosciutto di Parma
plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
extra-virgin olive oil, divided
dry white wine
- On a work surface, place the chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound to about ⅓ inch thick. Season all over with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper.
- Press a piece of prosciutto into each chicken breast, wrapping it around if it’s larger than the chicken. Press a sage leaf into each.
- Using a 6-inch skewer or toothpick, carefully fasten the sage leaf to the prosciutto and chicken by threading it through the chicken, prosciutto, and sage leaf. Press down to flatten the chicken.
- Into a shallow dish, pour ¼ cup of the flour. Press each chicken breast into the flour, front and back, adding more flour if needed. Place the chicken on a large plate and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the oil. Carefully place half of the chicken, sage leaf side down, into the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the prosciutto gets crisp.
- Turn and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more, until the chicken is cooked through. Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate.
- In the same pan, melt the butter and swirl to combine with the oil. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the flour and cook, whisking occasionally, for 3 minutes, until the flour is browned.
- Add the wine, then Increase the heat to high. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, until thickened and reduced by half. Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon of the salt.
- To serve, spoon the sauce among plates. Arrange the chicken on top, sage leaf side up.