Monday, November 22, 2010

Chicken Saltimbocca

I hear that saltimbocca means "to jump into the mouth", and from the first time I tried this dish at Bucca di Beppo I loved it and wanted it to jump into mine.  It’s so simple but still an elegant and special feeling dinner.  It has so many of the tastes that I love with the salty proscuitto, tangy artichoke hearts and capers.  ***My photo shows it served with sautéed swiss chard and vermincelli con aglio e olio (fancy for 'garlic and olive oil')!

I've read a bunch of recipes online, all claiming to be the same as the restaurant serves, but there are some differences that I noticed. I rarely have fresh sage on hand, so my recipe doesn't call for it, nor have I really noticed the sage when we order in the restaurant. The restaurant version definitely used to include the provolone cheese, but I've noticed they don't serve it that way anymore. I never used to buy provolone but I did for my original version.  I wouldn't make this stuff up... now would I? I 'invented' my version of this dish over 5 years ago and it has been popular with my family for just as long.  I had never written it down before today, but here we go!

4 chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/2 inch.
1 can 15 oz. artichoke hearts, drained
2-3 Tbsp of capers
1/4 cup white wine
2-3 Tbsp of cold butter
4 slices of proscuitto ham
4 slices of provolone cheese
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Parsley, chopped for the garnish
Salt & pepper to taste

Pound each chicken breast to about 1/2 inch in thickness.  Salt & pepper each side and  place into a medium hot pan with olive oil.  Brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side, but cooking time will vary with the thickness.

(Whew, sorry about that bad photo, you can tell it was pretty hot and steamy over that chicken! )  Remove the chicken to a serving platter. Add the proscuitto to the pan and quickly brown, about 1 minute each side.  Top each chicken breast with proscuitto and a thin slice of provolone.  Cover the serving platter with loosely tented foil so the heat is retained, and the cheese should melt.  Deglaze the pan by pouring in the 1/4 cup of white wine, stir loosenly all the browned bits leftover from the chicken. Add the drained artichoke hearts and stir to heat through, add the capers and the cold butter stirring constantly. The cold butter will add some body and some creaminess to your sauce, immediately cover your chicken breasts with the sauce covering the melted provolone and proscuitto. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with a wedge of lemon.

Side Dish Inspirations
I’m sure you can think of a million things to serve this with, but here are some ideas if you are feeling low on inspiration today:
  • Plain spaghetti tossed with olive oil and garlic
  • Serve it on a crusty slice of rustic bread to soak up the juices!
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Sautéed spinach
  • French bread

Round Two cooking… make more and use it for:
If you plan it right, you could make a double batch to have enough leftovers to make any of the following for another meal.  Here's some ideas:
  • You could cut up any leftovers and toss with hot pasta and chopped tomatoes for a main dish pasta dinner
  • Very nice for brown bag lunches too!

What else would this technique work on???
You could easily use this technique on:
  • Pork tenderloins medallions
  • Veal
  • Fish, like Salmon or tilapia, but I might skip the cheese... somehow it just doesn't go together.

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