Chicken Saltimbocca with Pan-Fried Sage Leaves

Saltimbocca means “to jump into the mouth.” This version of the classic Italian veal dish certainly does.

Serves 6.

3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved, excess fat removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
16 to 20 fresh sage leaves
4 to 6 thin slices prosciutto (optional)
¼ to ⅓ cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup white wine

1. Flatten each breast by pounding it between two pieces of waxed paper with a mallet, rolling pin, or bottle. Pound it as thin as possible, being careful not to tear the chicken. Set aside.

2. Place a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat and when it is hot, add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the garlic and sage and cook until both are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Set aside but do not wash it the skillet.

3. Place half a slice of prosciutto, if desired, and about 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese on top of each chicken breast. Top with equal amounts of half of the reserved garlic and sage. Fold each chicken breast and seal the edges by pinching with your fingers. Dust each chicken breast with flour and salt.

4. Reheat the skillet and, if necessary, add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the chicken breasts, skin side down, one at a time, allowing the pan to reheat for about 30 seconds between additions. Cook about 4 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second. Transfer the chicken to 6 heated individual plates.

5. Raise the heat to high, add the wine and bring to a boil. Cook until it is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Pour over the chicken and garnish with the remaining half of the reserved garlic and sage. Serve immediately.

Note: Do not substitute dried sage leaves! If you can’t find fresh, skip this recipe.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)