Chicken saltimbocca is a truly fast dinner staple with crispy prosciutto, fresh sage and a white wine sauce that feels fancy but it’s really easy to put together. Guests coming over? Make this one!Jump to Recipe
What does saltimbocca mean?
The name of this classic Italian dish is quite fitting. It literally translates to “It jumps in my mouth” and that’s okay with me!
When someone puts saltimbocca in front of me, it disappears into my mouth so quickly I hardly realize what’s happening!
In restaurants, saltimbocca is generally made with veal. I made this version with chicken cutlets instead.
It’s so much more accessible and makes for a great substitution. In either case, the meat is wrapped in prosciutto and sage and marinated and cooked in a delicate white wine sauce–and it is incredibly delicious.
What is chicken saltimbocca made from?
You don’t need much to make this beautifully simple, traditional Italian dish. Here is a list of ingredients to grab at the store. Make sure to scroll to the recipe below for more details.
What you’ll need to make this recipe
Do I need to use wine?
The wine really adds to the flavor of the sauce. The alcohol does cook off, but if you are feeling averse to using alcohol in the dish, feel free to skip it.
Just add a bit more stock and a tablespoon or two of lemon juice.
Use a good chicken stock
Because chicken stock provides the base of the sauce for this chicken saltimbocca, it is important that you select a good product.
Never use bouillon cubes and powders and try to get a good low-sodium option if you are buying stock at the store. This will allow you to season as you go, controlling the saltiness of the dish.
If you have time, I highly suggest making your own stock. My homemade chicken stock recipe will work perfectly.
Good chicken makes a difference
Not all chicken is created equal. Many are packed in a chlorine mixture to preserve the meat. The side effect of the chlorine is a mushy but tough texture to the meat.
Shop local if you can, and when you are perusing the poultry section, I suggest looking for air-chilled chicken. Pasture-raised if you can find it. It just has a better flavor and texture and is better for your health.
Keep the chicken thin
One great thing about this dish is that it cooks super fast. This is due to the fact that the chicken is cut very thin.
To achieve this effect, slice cutlets from larger pieces of breast meat. If needed, pound the pieces with a meat mallet to ensure even thickness. This will help you achieve even cooking time.
Due to the quick cook time, I highly suggest pre-measuring all of your ingredients so that you aren’t scrambling at the last moment.
Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally to produce cutlets. Add sage leaves, salt and pepper.
Wrap each chicken breast in a slice of prosciutto. This cured pork is very thin so if it breaks just piece it together and it will be fine.
Fry the wrapped chicken sage leaf side down until golden. This will happen fairly quickly (2 to 3 minutes or so).
Flip the chicken to the second side and cook a couple of minutes more. It won’t be totally done at this point but that’s okay. Transfer it to a plate and cook any remaining pieces if they wouldn’t fit in the pan.
Does the sauce need to be thickened?
Traditionally, the sauce for saltimbocca is thin. It will seem almost overly thin when you start cooking. Note that it will cook down and thicken a bit as it simmers.
If you would like a thicker sauce, go ahead and dredge your chicken in a bit of flour before cooking. The flour will thicken the sauce with no additional effort required. This sauce is so yummy and subtle. Be sure to spoon a bit over the finished dish.
Where to buy fresh sage
Sage is such a yummy, savory herb. You can find it in most grocery stores along with all of the other fresh, refrigerated herbs.
If you have the patience and gardening zest to do so, I think it’s a blast to grow your own (pssst…it’s pretty easy).
One note on sage is that it can be a bit unpleasant to bite into for some.
If you are one of those people, cook the chicken saltimbocca with the fresh sage and, before diving in, remove it.
The flavor will linger, but you won’t have to fight through the leaves.
What to serve with chicken saltimbocca
This easy saltimbocca has such a beautiful, delicate flavor on its own that you won’t want to overwhelm it with fancy sides. I recommend serving it with something simple and elegant that will allow the main dish to shine. Here are some ideas.
- A green salad. My Charred Caesar or this Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Walnuts will do wonderfully.
- Simply prepared veggies. I love steamed broccoli or roasted asparagus here.
- Your favorite starch. Buttered egg noodles, couscous, or my Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes would be my top picks.
How to store leftovers
If you do happen to find yourself with leftovers, they store and reheat nicely.
Allow the finished dish to cool to room temperature before sealing it in an airtight container. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days.
I love slicing up leftover saltimbocca and tossing it in a salad.
If you would like to enjoy it warm, heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and add the saltimbocca along with a splash of chicken stock. Cook until heated through.
- Sprinkle the chicken breasts evenly with salt and pepper. Add one to two sage leaves to the top of each breast and wrap one slice of prosciutto around each breast ensuring that it sticks.
- Heat a 12 inch skillet over high heat 1-2 minutes and add the olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Add the chicken in batches prosciutto/sage leaf side down in the pan being careful not to crowd the chicken. Cook over high heat until nearly cooked through, about 3 minutes.
- Flip the chicken to the other side and cook 1 minute more. Transfer the chicken to a plate, cook any remaining chicken and transfer it to the plate as well.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet. Add the wine and cook over high heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce reduces by half–about 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken back into the sauce in the skillet with the sage leaf side up and simmer in the sauce until the chicken is cooked through. 3 to 4 more minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.
- Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Serve warm with the sauce spooned on top.
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice may substitute for the wine. Reduce the sauce’s simmering time to just a minute if not using wine.
- Pacific Foods Organic chicken broth or Kettle and Fire chicken broth (not bone broth) are both good substitutes. Do not use powdered bouillon or bases as they will be too salty.