Saltimbocca literally means "jump in the mouth," and the classic Italian dish really is so delicious that it seems to leap off the plate and onto the tongue. Traditionally made from a cutlet of veal topped with prosciutto and pressed with sage leaves, the most common version of saltimbocca is alla Romana (when the veal cutlet is rolled and sautéed in butter and wine).
The step of rolling the meat together with the fillings can be tricky, and while visually appealing, it isn't really all that necessary when it comes to taste. In today's Cook the Book recipe, Serves One author Toni Lydecker replaces special-occasion veal with everyday chicken and simply sears the fillet flat, prosciutto-side down to adhere the toppings. She then adds either white wine or vermouth (whatever's on hand) to create a rich, aromatic sauce.
- 1 chicken cutlet (about 5 ounces)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4-5 fresh sage leaves
- 1 thin slice (about 1 1/2 ounce) prosciutto di Parma
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine or dry white vermouth
Lay the chicken on a cutting board and, if necessary, pound it lightly to an even thickness. Sprinkle ones side lightly with salt and pepper. Flip the fillet; arrange the sage leaves and then the prosciutto on top, pressing with your palm to make them adhere.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Carefully—so that the prosciutto doesn't fall off—lay the fillet prosciutto-side down in the skillet. When it has browned, after about 1 minute, turn and sear on the other side.
Reduce the heat to low and add the wine and about 2 tablespoons water. Partially cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.