This is our sage plant. It barely wilted over the mild winter we had, and since then, it has almost doubled in size, and is currently blooming. Seeing as we are swimming in sage, we made Chicken Saltimbocca the other night. "Saltimbocca" is an Italian hybrid word formed from the verb saltare (to jump), and the noun bocca - the mouth, thus it means "jumps in the mouth." What a great word, huh? It's the perfect description for this dish, which traditionally is made with pounded veal or chicken breast that is cooked with prosciutto and sage. The blending of that woodsy sage flavor with the salty meatiness from the prosciutto really tickles the tastebuds. Saltimbocca!
Our version is pretty easy and quick to make, so it is nice for weeknights, but also has a touch of elegance that can translate well into a dinner party, especially when paired with the right Pinot Grigio. We do one extra step that makes a big difference - infuse the coooking oil with sage by frying a few sage leaves in it first, which you can use as an edible garnish for the plated dish.
Cut sage leaves
Fry sage in oil to infuse oil and make a unique edible garnish
Use thinly sliced prosciutto
Pound the chicken with the sage and prosciutto
to mingle the flavors
Dredge chicken in flour and fry in infused oil
Don't forget the other side!
Make a quick pan sauce with shallots, wine and butter
Serves two, includes directions for optional sauce
10-12 large fresh sage leaves
2 thin slices prosciutto
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced (optional)
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
Rinse sage leaves and carefully pat them dry. Rip up one large or two small sage leaves and place pieces on top of each chicken breast. Lay one slice of prosciutto on top of each chicken breast, over the sage. Pound chicken breasts to desired thinness. Season flour with salt and pepper, then dredge chicken breasts in the seasoned flour; set aside. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. In small batches, fry 8 of the sage leaves for 4 seconds on each side. Remove from oil, drain on a paper towel and set aside. Place floured chicken breasts in hot oil, prosciutto-side down. Cook for 3-4 minutes, turn, and repeat on the other side, with the timing depending on thickness, until chicken is browned and cooked through. Plate chicken with fried sage leaves for garnish. If desired, make a quick pan sauce by adding minced shallots to the hot pan, and sauteing for a minute. Then add white wine and cook over high heat until reduced by half. Swirl in butter and serve over chicken with favorite side dish (we like haricot verts, as you can see).
Like this? Try our Chicken Piccata!