About a month ago, I wrote about the weeknight dinner quandary — how to make a good dinner for a guest, on a weeknight, that won’t drive you crazy to the point where you are unattractively frazzled or smeared with olive oil or flour or the like or just terrifically drunk by the time your guest arrives.
I served this chicken saltimbocca along with the spaghetti in vino rosso that I cooked for the particular dinner in question, and the whole thing couldn’t have been easier unless I’d ordered delivery for the two of us. Plus, the word “saltimbocca” is Italian for “jumps in the mouth.” Could there be a more enticing name for a dish?
The classic saltimbocca (I believe) is made with veal, but this chicken version is a popular spin that is certainly more wallet-friendly and debatedly more animal-friendly (but that’s a whole other debate). Mostly, I don’t really like the taste of veal — something about its texture is too spongey for me. And also, I have a feeling that most people aren’t just cooking up veal on an average Thursday night. I’m pretty sure that boneless, skinless chicken breast, on the other hand, appears in most 20-somethings’ kitchens far more often than such a relatively tasteless protein really deserves to.
But wrap the chicken breasts in sage and prosciutto and you have something that, well, jumps in the mouth, with only five minutes more effort and less than $5 more expenditure.
Serves 2 (can be increased, infinitely)
Adapted from Food & Wine
– 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied (cut in half lengthwise, so they aren’t so thick, but not fully cut so that they become 2 pieces) — the ones in the photo above aren’t butterflied, and boy did I learn my lesson when I had to pull them out of the pan mid-cooking to cut them in half so they wouldn’t be raw
– 4 sage leaves
– 4 thin slices prosciutto
– a little flour, for dusting the chicken
– olive oil and butter, for the pan
– about a cup of white wine, chicken stock, and/or water (any combination, though wine and/or stock is best) for the pan
– salt and pepper
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place 2 sage leaves on each chicken breast and top with 2 prosciutto slices (prosciutto should adhere to chicken). Dust chicken with flour.
2. Heat olive oil and butter in a pan. Add chicken (prosciutto-side up), cook until bottom is brown, about 3 minutes. Turn chicken to prosciutto-side down, cook just about a minute. Remove chicken from pan.
3. Add about a cup of wine, stock, and/or water (wine or stock, or a combo of the two, is best, but if you don’t have any, water is fine) to pan to deglaze. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is reduced by about half.
4. Return chicken to skillet (prosciutto-side up) and cook about 2 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Adjust salt and pepper seasoning and serve, with pan sauce poured over.