Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jumps into the mouth

The Italian word "saltimbocca" literally means "jumps into the mouth." Traditionally, the dish is made with veal cutlets, prosciutto and sage. Here's my version using chicken.

Start with thin sliced chicken cutlets, either purchased that way or by slicing boneless, skinless chicken breasts horizontally yourself (if you're slicing them, it helps to put them into the freezer for five minutes or so first). Place cutlets between two sheets of plastic wrap, or in a sealed ziplock bag, and pound to a quarter-inch thickness.

Place one paper-thin slice of prosciutto, a sprinkle of fresh chopped sage or dried sage and a slice of provolone on each cutlet. Fold the prosciutto on each side to contain the cheese as best you can (some cheese will escape during cooking, but will enhance the sauce you'll make at the end). Then fold the chicken cutlet to enclose everything and secure with toothpicks.

In a large skillet, place the cutlet packages in a combination of one tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter. Lightly saute each side over medium heat for about 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove cutlets from pan.

Add a little diced red onion or shallots, about two tablespoons, to the pan and cook for about one minute. Deglaze the pan with one-half to one cup of dry white wine, depending on how many cutlets you are making, boiling the wine until it reduces by one-half. Add an equal amount of chicken broth, the juice of one lemon and two tablespoons of butter. Return the chicken cutlets to the pan and continue boiling until the cutlets are heated through. That's it!

I like to serve this dish with risotto, but it takes a bit of work to make both at the same time. A good alternative would be a packaged rice mix that includes saffron. Or, for that matter, any rice mix that suits your fancy. Buon gusto!

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