An Elegant Italian Classic
Chicken Saltimbocca is a traditional Italian dish from Rome. Originally, “Saltimbocca” was made with veal, but the flavors additionally pair perfectly with chicken. Chicken Saltimbocca is a hearty dish with quite elegant flavors. The flavors of it can be described as “slightly salty, slightly woodsy, and entirely sumptuous.” Although it is often seen on the menu of upscale Italian restaurants, this does not mean that you can’t make it at home. In fact, it is quite a simple recipe and I am going to show you the only right way to make and serve Chicken Saltimbocca. It is a great option for dinner if you are having people over, or also if you just want to cook something delicious for yourself!
For more about this dish and its’ origin, read A Rich Nod to Old Elegance. As David Tanis states in this piece, Chicken Saltimbocca “fits right in with the current nostalgic trend toward retro Italian-American cooking.”
This recipe is adapted from the NY Times Cooking recipe for Chicken Saltimbocca by David Tanis. It yields 4-6 servings and takes around 30 minutes, with an additional hour to marinate the chicken. Here is what you will need (your “ingredienti”):
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 4-ounce pieces
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped sage, plus 24 large sage leaves
- 2 garlic cloves smashed to a paste
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes, optional
- Olive oil
- 6 thin slices prosciutto
- 6 slices fontina cheese (about 4 ounces)
- Any additional Italian herbs for a garnish (rosemary or basil for example)
The Steps to Perfection
- Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken to flatten a bit. Salt and pepper each piece on both sides and place on a platter. Sprinkle with chopped sage, garlic, red pepper flakes (if using) and olive oil. Massage in the seasoning to distribute, cover and marinate at room temperature for one hour, or refrigerate for up to several hours.
- Heat a wide skillet over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil looks wavy, add the sage leaves and let them crisp for about 30 seconds. Remove and drain.
- Brown the chicken breasts in the oil for about 2 minutes per side, then transfer to a baking dish large enough to fit them in one layer.
- Top each piece with 2 sage leaves, a slice of prosciutto and a slice of fontina. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling. Garnish with remaining sage leaves.
- Then serve straight from the oven! It is as simple as that.
Looking for more Italian recipes? Read How to Serve Capicola to Impress Your Friends at a House Party?
“Contorni” means “side dishes.” There are a variety of potential side dishes that pair perfectly with Chicken Saltimbocca and complete the meal. I suggest serving either broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, a salad, or risotto alongside the chicken. You can’t go wrong with any of these options. Once you have your chicken and your side, your meal is complete. There you have it, this is the only right way to serve Chicken Saltimbocca!