Saltimbocca, which literally means “jump into the mouth” in Italian, is a no‑brag-just-facts description of the wonderfulness of the classic recipe made with veal scaloppine, prosciutto, and sage. My version substitutes chicken for veal and adds an artichoke sauce. This recipe would work not only as a special treat for the family on a weeknight, but as a winning dinner entrée for guests on a weekend. The only time-consuming part of this recipe is the pounding of the chicken breasts. But if you sprinkle the breasts with a little water before bashing away at them with a rolling pin, they won’t stick to the plastic bag and shred. In any case, I tend to find the bashing part of the preparation strangely soothing, especially after a bad day at the office or a squabble with the kidlets.
Makes 4 servings • Hands-on time: 35 minutes • Total preparation time: 45 minutes
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 11⁄4 pounds; see Note)
- 12 large fresh sage or basil leaves
- 2 to 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma
- 1⁄3 cup Wondra or unbleached allpurpose flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄3 cup dry Marsala or sherry
- One 14-ounce can artichoke hearts
- 1 cup Homemade Chicken Stock (page 10, add preparation time) or canned broth
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1. Sprinkle a small amount of water into a large resealable plastic bag. Place a chicken breast half in the bag and close, leaving 1/2 inch open. Pound the bag with a rolling pin or meat pounder until the breast is about 1/4 inch thick; remove and set aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.
2. Put 3 sage leaves on the less smooth side of each pounded chicken breast. Cover them with the prosciutto and press until they adhere. Cover the breasts and chill them for 10 minutes. Cut each breast crosswise in half.
3. Spread out the flour in a pie plate lined with wax paper or parchment. Season half the chicken pieces with salt and pepper to taste. Working with one piece at a time, coat the chicken with the flour, lifting the wax paper on both sides to move the piece around; shake off the excess flour.
4. Heat 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot; reduce the heat to medium. Sauté the chicken for 2 minutes per side, or until the pieces are golden and just cooked through; remove them to a plate and cover them loosely with aluminum foil. Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken.
5. Add the Marsala to the skillet; bring it to a boil, scraping up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan, and simmer for about 1 minute, or until the pan is almost dry.
6. Drain and coarsely chop the artichoke hearts (about 1-1/3 cups). Add them to the skillet along with the chicken stock and simmer until reduced by half. Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer just until reheated. Add the butter to the pan and swirl until it has melted. Divide the chicken among 4 dinner plates; spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.
Note: Or use 1-1/4 pounds thin chicken cutlets (about 7), which will not need to be pounded or cut in half. Just make sure to distribute the sage leaves and prosciutto evenly among all the cutlets.