“Time is relentless.
Only true love perseveres.”
— Billy Joel
It is weird that a culinary classic dish like Chicken Saltimbocca can send you down memory lane.
It seems like yesterday I was a young bride so excited to be creating my own little nest for myself and my eternal sweetheart. And now I am inexplicably thinking about things I thought would never enter my consciousness: 401(k)s, cholesterol levels and making quilts for grandbabies.
How did this happen? How did it slip by so quickly?
As a young bride, I had many culinary flops. My hubby loved me enough to smile through the tough meat, the soggy breading, the gloppy unhealthy casseroles – Hey! It was the 70’s, OK?
One challenging dish was Chicken Saltimboca, an Italian classic that for me was impossible to get the textures and flavors right. It is praised as a “jump-in-your-mouth” dish beloved because of the intense flavors of veal, sage and proscuitto, but for me it always turned out to be a greasy, cheesey, soggy-breading mess.
But no longer.
I found this simplified version of the classic in Cooks Illustrated magazine and I just had to try this dish again and see if I could redeem myself. I simplified it even further and made it more frugal by using chicken stock with a little white wine vinegar in place of the vermouth.
I am happy to report success! This dish takes 20 minutes from start to finish and is a masterpiece of flavors and textures, doing honor to the original concept but it is absolutely foolproof. This will become one of my week night go-to dishes, served with a hug and a kiss to my partner who is still there at the table with a nod and a smile after 35 years!
— posted by Donna
SIMPLIFIED CHICKEN SALTIMBOCCA
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- Ground black pepper
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
- 4 thin slices proscuitto, cut into 5- to 6-inch-long pieces to match chicken (about 2 ounces)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
- Combine flour and 1 teaspoon pepper in shallow dish.
Pound chicken breasts until they are a uniform thickness, about 1/2 inch. Dredge chicken in cornstarch, shaking off any excess. Lay cutlets flat and sprinkle evenly with minced sage. Place 1 prosciutto slice on top of each cutlet, pressing lightly to adhere; set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to shimmer. Add two of the chicken breasts to pan, prosciutto-side down, and cook until light golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook on other side until light golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Repeat for the remaining two chicken breasts.
Pour off excess fat from skillet. Stir in broth, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Turn heat to low and whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Off heat, stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. Remove chicken from oven and place on platter. Spoon sauce over chicken before serving.
Simplified versions of saltimbocca have been the project of other bloggers:
Lori of Culinary Covers made Cooking Light’s version of Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca
Val at More Than Burnt Toast made a Saltimbocca Masterpiece
Kevin Weeks at Seriously Good made a more “cheffy” version of Saltimbocca by marinating the breasts in wine and sage.
And Judy at Judy’s Kitchen tweaked the Cook’s Illustrated version of