From America's Test Kitchen Season 9: Bringing Home Italian Favorites
In its classic Italian form, saltimbocca is made with veal, prosciutto, and sage, but chicken is frequently substituted for the veal. The combination of flavors is meant to “jump in the mouth,” as the name suggests. Preparing this dish can be complicated, but we wanted to streamline it and ensure that the flavors were well balanced.
Flouring only the chicken, rather than the chicken-prosciutto package, avoided gummy spots. The prosciutto is usually secured to the chicken with a toothpick, but we found that we could do without the toothpick if we seared the prosciutto side of the chicken first; once browned, the two stuck together just fine. Prosciutto can overwhelm the other flavors in this dish, so it’s important to use thin slices, but not so thin that they disintegrate during cooking. A single sage leaf is the usual garnish, but we wanted more sage flavor, so we sprinkled some minced fresh sage over the floured chicken before adding the prosciutto. (A single fried sage leaf is a pretty but optional garnish.) With a simple pan sauce of vermouth, lemon juice, butter, and parsley, our chicken saltimbocca was ready to serve and full of flavor.
Buy cutlets that are approximately 5 to 6 inches long. If the tip is too thin, trim back 1 to 2 inches to make the cutlet of uniform thickness. If cutlets are unavailable, you can make your own with four (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts (see “Cutting Your Own Cutlets,” related content). Although whole sage leaves make a beautiful presentation, they are optional and can be left out of step 3. Make sure to buy prosciutto that is thinly sliced, not shaved; also avoid slices that are too thick, as they won’t stick to the chicken.