Monday, January 10, 2011

Chicken Saltimbocca

I had chicken saltimbocca one time at my favorite local Italian restaurant. I thought of that meal when selecting and making this recipe. Their recipe includes some spinach, prosciutto, and a layer of melted fontina. Mine just had prosciutto. It was delicious, though.

Taken from Cook’s Illustrated, March 2008
Serves 4
Prep and Cook Time: about 30 minutes

1/2 C flour (unbleached, all-purpose)
1 tsp ground black pepper
8 thin-cut boneless, skinless chicken cutlets (about 2 pounds)
1 Tbsp minced fresh safe leaves, plus 8 large leaves (optional)
8 thin slices prosciutto, cut to match chicken (about 3 oz)
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 C dry vermouth or white wine
2 tsp juice from 1 lemon
4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt, to taste

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil and set wire rack inside.

Combine flour and pepper in shallow dish.

Pat cutlets dry with paper towels. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off any excess. Sprinkle cutlets with minced sage. Place 1 prosciutto slice on top of each cutlets, pressing lightly to adhere; set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to shimmer. Add sage leaves and cook until leaves begin to change color and are fragrant, about 15 to 20 seconds. Use slotted spoon to remove sage; place on paper towel; reserve.

Add half of cutlets to pan, prosciutto-side down and cook until light golden brown; 2 to 3 minuts. Flip and cook on other side until light golden brown, about 2 minutes more.

Transfer to wire rack set on baking sheet and keep warm in oven.

Repeat with remaining 2 Tbsp oil and cutlets, then transfer to oven to keep warm while preparing sauce.

Pour off any excess fat from skillet. Stir in vermouth or wine, scraping up any brown bits, and simmer until reduced to about 1/3 C, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Turn heat to low and whisk in butter, 1 Tbsp 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 cutlets and garnish with a sage leaf before serving.

Chicken cutlets should be about 5 to 6 inches long. If the tip is too thin, trim the cutlet to make the thickness uniform. You can make your own cutlets by slicing and pounding an 8-ounce chicken breast.

Whole sage leaves (fried as part of the initial steps in the recipe) are only part of the presentation. This step can easily be skipped.

It is also important that the prosciutto is very thinly sliced, not shaved. Slices that are too thick will not stick to the chicken.

This was a great dinner! Despite the many steps, it was actually a relatively easy dish to prepare. I would go a little lighter on the salt next time, though. The prosciutto seems to add more than enough. I might also experiment with adding a slice of cheese - maybe on top of the prosciutto. I could slap it on while the chicken is still in the pan and melt it in the oven.

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