This chicken saltimbocca recipe features pan-seared chicken with sage wrapped in prosciutto. It is then cooked to perfection in a delicious white wine sauce with a hint of lemon. An easy and delicious dinner recipe that comes together in under 30 minutes. It is perfect to prepare for a family weeknight meal and fancy enough to serve at a weekend dinner party.
What is chicken saltimbocca?
Saltimbocca alla romana or just saltimbocca is an authentic Italian dish traditionally made with veal wrapped in sage and prosciutto and cooked in a white wine and butter sauce. The word saltimbocca comes from the Italian term saltare in bocca meaning jumps into the mouth, which suggests that this dish is so delicious it will literally jump in to your mouth when eating it.
This saltimbocca with chicken recipe provides an interesting twist to the classic Italian saltimbocca with veal. Chicken pairs really well with the earthy and subtle citrus flavour of sage.
What ingredients to use
To make this prosciutto chicken dish you only need a handful of key ingredients:
- Chicken: Use skinless and boneless chicken cutlets or thicker chicken breast which you can slice horizontally in half to obtain 2 thinner cutlets.
- Prosciutto: To wrap the chicken use a good quality very thin prosciutto, which is cured Italian ham. As an alternative to prosciutto, any other cured ham can be used, like Spanish jamón Serrano, French jambon de Bayonne or German Black Forest ham.
- Sage: Fresh sage leaves are indispensable to make saltimbocca and are what gives this dish its authentic Mediterranean flavour. The taste of fresh sage can be described as earthy with hints of pine, citrus and mint.
- White wine: Use a dry white wine or dry Marsala wine as the base for the sauce.
- Lemon: A squeeze of fresh lemon juice lifts the freshness of the sauce.
- Chicken broth: Use chicken broth for the sauce to enhance the chicken flavour of the dish.
How to make chicken saltimbocca
Note: All the exact quantities of the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
This recipe for saltimbocca takes less than 30 minutes to prepare with just a few simple steps:
- Prepare the chicken cutlets:
Place the cutlets between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or plastic foil and gently pound with the flat part of a meat mallet to make the chicken cutlets equally thin. I usually go for a thickness of around 0.5 inches (1-1.5 cm).
Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, place 2 fresh sage leaves on top of each cutlet and wrap with prosciutto. I use 2 slices of prosciutto per cutlet, but you can easily use only 1 slice, which is a personal preference. Dust each side lightly with all-purpose flour.
- Sear the chicken:
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium to high heat and sear the chicken around 2 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the cutlet. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside for later.
- Make the white wine sauce:
In the same pan (not cleaned out!) pour in the white wine and chicken broth to deglaze. Leave to simmer a few minutes on medium heat to reduce and thicken the sauce. Count on around 2-3 minutes. Add in a tablespoon of unsalted butter and leave to melt while gently stirring. Finish the sauce with some fresh lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the chicken in the sauce:
Place the seared chicken in the sauce, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 1-2 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately with fresh sage, parsley and lemon slices.
Frequently asked questions and tips
White wine vinegar is a great substitute for white wine in the sauce. Use half the amount of vinegar to the wine in this dish, just enough to deglaze the pan.
You can make the chicken saltimbocca in advance, just as per the cooking instructions. Leave to cool down, cover with aluminium foil or place in a closed container and put in the fridge. Warm in the microwave, on low heat in the oven or in the pan just before serving. I do however recommend not to make this in advance, since it might dry out the chicken.
You can use vegetable broth or water with stock cubes. However, keep in mind that prosciutto is already pretty salty, so if you use 2 slices of prosciutto don’t overseason with chicken broth and don’t use too much salt.
You can pound the chicken with the flat bottom of a small saucepan or skillet, a rolling pin, or an unopened can of food.
How to serve saltimbocca
This chicken saltimbocca can be served with various types of potato dishes, like mashed potatoes, oven baked or cooked potatoes. It can also be served with polenta or pasta.
- 4 chicken breasts (roughly 4 ounces each) boneless, skinless, thin cut
- 8 fresh sage leaves
- 8 thin slices of prosciutto
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup (or 60 ml) dry white wine
- ⅔ cup (or 160 ml) chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter unsalted
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- pepper and salt to taste
- fresh sage leaves roughly chopped
- fresh parsley roughly chopped
- lemon wedges
Prepare the chicken
- Start with 4 thin slices of chicken breast or slice 2 large chicken breasts horizontally in half. Place the chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic foil and pound with a meat mallet to make evenly thin cutlets of about ½ inch or 1.5 cm.
- Season both sides with salt and pepper. Place 2 sage leaves on top of each chicken breast.
- Wrap each with 2 slices of prosciutto. Dust both sides with flower, shaking off the excess.
Cook the chicken saltimbocca
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the prosciutto wrapped chicken breast and cook each side 2 minutes until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
- Pour the white wine and chicken broth in to the same pan and leave to simmer for 2 minutes. Melt the butter in the sauce and stir until the sauce has slightly thickened. Add the lemon juice.
- Place the chicken breast in the sauce, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 1-2 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
- Serve immediately and garnish with chopped sage leaves or parsley and some lemon wedges. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Prosciutto: I have used 2 slices per chicken breast in order to cover the whole cutlet. Alternatively, reduce to 1 slice per chicken piece, but make sure the sage is covered.
- Seasoning: Depending on the amount of prosciutto, use less salt as prosciutto is already quite salty.
- Pound the chicken: Pound the chicken with the flat side of a meat mallet, the bottom part of a pot or skillet or with a rolling pin.
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