Chicken Saltimbocca is a fresh take on the famous Italian dish, made traditionally with veal. With a handful of everyday ingredients, you can make this elegant main course in about 40 minutes.
Wrapped in crispy prosciutto and smothered in a creamy tomato and white wine sauce, these juicy parcels of chicken make any meal feel special. It's a weeknight easy main course that's worthy of your next date night or dinner party.
Ingredients You Need to Make Chicken Saltimbocca
- Chicken Breasts: Look for plump, firm boneless skinles chicken breasts with a smooth texture and, if possible, without any added brine or water.
- Lemon: Choose bright, firm lemons with a smooth skin. They should feel heavy for their size, a good indication that they're juicy.
- Fresh Sage: The leaves should be vibrant in color with a strong, aromatic scent. Avoid those that are wilting or have dark spots.
- Prosciutto: Opt for thinly sliced prosciutto with a vibrant pink color. It should have a pleasant aroma and not feel overly moist or sticky.
- Olive Oil: A cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil with a fresh scent. The color can range from golden yellow to greenish.
- Dry White Wine: For this recipe, Italian varieties like Pinot Grigio, Soave, or Verdicchio are excellent choices. They offer a crisp acidity that complements the dish.
- Chicken Broth: A clear broth with a deep golden color and rich chicken aroma is ideal.
- Diced Tomatoes (Canned): Check the ingredients list to and avoid those with added preservatives or sugars. Opt for cans that simply list tomatoes, tomato juice, and possibly citric acid.
- Heavy Cream: Creams can vary in fat content. For a richer sauce, opt for a heavy cream with a higher fat content, usually around 36%. For a slightly lighter version, look for a cream with closer to 30% fat content.
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
The Origins of Saltimbocca
Saltimbocca, an Italian favorite, truly lives up to its name, which directly translates from Italian as "jumps in the mouth. While the classic dish is often made with veal, variations like chicken or even Pork Saltimbocca have found their way onto dinner tables worldwide. At its heart, the dish pairs tender meat with sage, and wraps it in prosciutto before being pan-fried to perfection.
Though a slice of lemon isn't universally standard in the most traditional recipes, it's a common addition, especially in variations of the dish. It adds a burst of acidity and brightness, complementing the richness of the meat and prosciutto.
- Pound Evenly: When pounding the chicken breasts, aim for uniform thickness. This ensures even cooking and avoids any dry or undercooked spots.
- Choose Thin Prosciutto: Opt for thinly sliced prosciutto. It wraps easily around the chicken and crisps up nicely when cooked.
- Lemon Placement: Position the lemon slice so that it's completely covered by the prosciutto. This helps lock in the citrus flavor while preventing the lemon from burning when pan-frying.
- Pan Heat: Monitor your skillet's heat closely. If the prosciutto starts browning too quickly, reduce the heat slightly to avoid over-caramelizing.
- Resting is Key: After cooking, allow the chicken to rest under a foil tent for a few minutes. This keeps it juicy and ensures the internal temperature reaches 165˚F.
- Swap chicken breasts for chicken thighs if you prefer darker meat. This will provide a richer flavor and tend to be more forgiving with overcooking.
- Instead of prosciutto, try thinly sliced pancetta or even serrano ham. Both alternatives will give a distinct flavor twist to the dish.
- For the sauce, consider adding capers for an extra burst of salty tanginess.
- Add some freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese on top for an extra layer of flavor before serving.
How to Store and Reheat
Store any leftover Chicken Saltimbocca in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready to eat, reheat gently on the stovetop until warmed through. Avoid overcooking to prevent the chicken from becoming dry.
- Italian Roasted Potatoes OR
- Mashed Red Potatoes OR Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
- AND Rapini with Raisins and Hazelnuts OR Arugula Salad OR Romano Beans
How to Make Chicken Saltimbocca
With a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound chicken breasts to a ½-inch thickness inside a plastic zip-top bag or between two pieces of plastic; season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
Top each chicken breast with one lemon slice and one fresh sage leaf; wrap crosswise with prosciutto. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
Cook wrapped chicken breasts in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Gently flip and cook 3-5 minutes more. Transfer to clean plate and tent with foil.
Add white wine to skillet, stirring to break up any brown bits. Add chicken broth and cook until reduced by half. Stir in tomatoes, cream, salt and pepper; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Spoon sauce over chicken breasts arranged on serving platter and garnish with finely chopped sage; serve.
- 4 6-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning meat
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more for seasoning meat
- 4 thin lemon slices
- 5 large fresh sage leaves divided
- 4 slices prosciutto large enough to wrap around chicken breasts
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 14 ½ ounce can diced tomatoes drained
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Place one chicken breast on a work surface inside a plastic zip-top bag or between two pieces of plastic. Pound with meat mallet or rolling pin to ½-inch thickness. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts. Season each chicken breast on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Place one slice of lemon and one fresh sage leaf on one chicken breast and wrap crosswise with a slice of prosciutto, pressing to seal. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
- Finely chop remaining sage leaf.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken breasts, lemon side up in the hot oil; cook 5 minutes. (Reduce heat if prosciutto is browning too quickly) Carefully turn chicken breasts over with tongs or a thin metal spatula and cook 3-5 minutes more, until chicken has just cooked through and prosciutto has caramelized. Remove from skillet and tent with foil; let stand 5 minutes or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 165˚F.
- Meanwhile, add white wine to skillet; cook and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up any brown bits. Add chicken broth and boil until reduced by half, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, cream, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Arrange chicken breasts on serving platter or place one on each of 4 dinner plates; spoon sauce over each and garnish with finely chopped sage; serve immediately.