Chicken Saltimbocca



by Cat,  Oct 2007 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also Brining ChickenPreparing Chicken or Other Cutlets;  

You can find more  of my chicken cutlet recipes, as well as links to cutlet recipes on other sites, on the Poultry & Fowl Main Course Menu, under Chicken Cutlets.

When I want to make something quick and delicious for dinner, I turn to my many recipes using chicken breasts or cutlets, cooked in a pan on stove top, and graced with a delicious sauce. This is one of my favorites, when I can find prosciutto (dry-cured ham).

I found this recipe while waiting in my Doctor’s office for my appointment – and reading his magazines – and could hardly wait to give it a try.

Chicken Saltimbocca

This recipe is adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, March 2007, and serves 4.  I recommend brining the chicken to help it retain its moisture. It is very difficult to get the sage and prosciutto to ‘stick’ to the chicken, as per the original recipe. However, one can roll the chicken with the sage and prosciutto inside, and secure it with a toothpick, to hold it all together. This makes a thicker piece of meat, for a longer cooking time, so I’ve modified the cooking times according to my Pan-Roasted Chicken recipe 2.

While the original recipe uses olive oil over high heat to cook the chicken, high heat is not recommended with olive oil, so either cook over medium heat, or use lard which can tolerate the high heat.

If you like a thicker sauce, remove the chicken to a plate after simmering. Add 1/2 tsp arrowroot, or 1 – 2 tsp tapioca starch mixed with 1 – 2 Tbsp water and whisk into sauce while heating over moderate heat, about 1 minute.

See a 4-minute video on making Veal Saltimbocca (1), that illustrates the rolling of the meat around the prosciutto & sage.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 4 ea 6-oz boneless chicken breast halves, brined
  • Unrefined Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 large fresh sage leaves
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
  • unbleached white flour or tapioca starch, for dusting
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or lard
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, divided
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (such as dry vermouth)
  • 1 cup homemade rich Chicken Stock
  • 2-4 sage leaves (optional, for sauce)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • large bowl for brining
  • meat pounder
  • toothpicks
  • large cast iron skillet
  • fork for turning chicken


  1. Brine chicken and prepare cutlets (see Preparing Cutlets, above).
  2. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  Place 2 sage leaves on each breast.  Top with a slice of prosciutto, trimming it to fit. Roll the breast (with prosciutto & sage in the center) and secure with toothpick. Dust the chicken with flour, shaking off the excess.
  3. Heat the skillet on medium/high heat; add the oil/lard* and 2 Tbsp of the butter.  Add 2 of the breast pieces, prosciutto side up, and cook over high heat on both sides, about 3 5 minutes each. *If using olive oil, set heat to medium and cook a bit longer; if you want to use high heat, use lard.
  4. Reduce heat to medium; cover pan and cook another 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer pieces to plate; repeat with the remaining two pieces.  Pour off any fat, but leave the browned bits for deglazing.
  6. Add the remaining butter to the skillet.  Add the wine and cook over high heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.  Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Add optional sage leaves to enhance the flavor, if desired. Cook until reduced by half, 3 minutes.
  7. Return the chicken pieces to the skillet; simmer over moderate heat until the chicken is cooked through, 2 – 5 minutes.  Season with pepper (and salt, if you didn’t brine the meat first.
  8. Transfer chicken to plates; pour the sauce on top and serve. For a thicker sauce, whisk 1/2 tsp arrowroot (or 1 -2 tsp tapioca starch) in 1 – 2 Tbsp water, then whisk into the sauce and heat 1 minute over moderate heat to thicken.

Assembly or Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with fettucini tossed with butter or olive oil
  • Food & Wine recommends an earthy, complex Tuscan red wine such as 2004 Fattoria Le Pupille Morellino di Scansano to accompany this dish.


  1. Veal Saltimbocca video:
  2. Pan-Roasted Chicken:

About Cat

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