Chicken Saltimbocca - ☺♥

Chicken Saltimbocca

This recipe is originally from Giada DeLaurentis via Food Network®. I've made my typical editing changes to make it fit the standard Food Nirvana recipe format and I provide some recommended changes to the recipe. I made this dish and I've now made a number of improvements and recommendations, mostly in the directions. Note, for instance, that Giada uses salt and pepper multiple times in this recipe, and I recommend going very lightly on both each time. Your guests can season the chicken saltimbocca to please themselves at serving time.

You want to consider what side dishes to serve with this meal. The chicken saltimbocca is distinct in numerous flavors, and bright or slightly tart with the lemon juice in the reduction sauce, so a mild dish of cooked pasta combined with sauteed garlic slices in olive oil will go well. A tossed salad with a creamy Caesar dressing is also a good item to serve, as the salad contrasts with the other foods in colors, textures and taste. You might also serve some warmed Italian bread with butter. A nice white wine like Pinot Grigio, chilled, is perfect with this meal. Dessert? Hmm ... How about a small fresh fruit salad with a shot of Amaretto in each serving?

Ingredients: (Makes two to three servings)

6, 3 ounce chicken cutlets, pounded (maybe!) to flatten them evenly to a thickness of 1/4" or less

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 thin slices of prosciutto ham

1, 10 ounce box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

3 tablespoons (or slightly more) of olive oil

1/4 cup (or more) of grated Parmesan cheese

1, 14 ounce can of chicken broth

2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice


Set the oven temperature to 180 degrees F and put a serving platter and two or three dinner plates into the oven to pre-warm them.

Process a fresh lemon to make the lemon juice, then set it aside.

Now, about pounding the chicken cutlets. A cutlet is a long, relatively wide sliced piece of chicken breast. Thus, if/when you cut a boneless, skinless chicken breast half to make the cutlets, remember to cut along the flesh evenly and along the length, not perpendicular to it, or pounding it to make it thin will result in you making mashed chicken instead of flattened cutlets. Hint: Don't use the knurled end of the kitchen mallet to do the pounding.

An alternative to pounding is to create slices of raw chicken breast that are 1/4 inch or less thick, eliminating any need for pounding completely. You can do that easily with a meat slicer if the half breast is partially frozen. In fact, in the future that is exactly what I will do, as chicken flesh is far more fragile than beef or pork. Think about it ... one pounds lean tough beef to tenderize it as well as to make it thinner ... and that is totally unnecessary for chicken breast if you start with thinly sliced chicken breast.

Squeeze the thawed frozen spinach about a quarter cup at a time by hand to remove the excess water, then put it into a small bowl. Season the spinach lightly with salt and pepper. Toss the spinach with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to coat it.

Place a thin chicken cutlet flat on a cutting board. Sprinkle the chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Lay one slice of prosciutto ham on top of the chicken cutlet.

Arrange an even, thin layer of spinach on top of the prosciutto ham slice. Actually, you can't do that. Simply dispense small "finger pinch" amounts of spinach evenly over the surface of the ham and spread it lightly with the back of a teaspoon.

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the spinach. Note: Each piece receives roughly one heaping teaspoon of Parmesan cheese, so the 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese indicated in the recipe ingredients may not be exactly accurate.

Beginning at the short tapered end, roll up the chicken cutlet like a jellyroll. Secure the rolled up chicken to itself with a toothpick (or two) so it cannot unroll during cooking. Put the rolled up chicken on a plate.

Repeat the above procedure for the remaining five chicken cutlets.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or a bit more) in a heavy bottom large skillet over high heat.

Add the rolled up chicken pieces and cook them just until golden brown, about 2 minutes (or more) per side. When it is time to turn the pieces over to brown the second side, use a strong spatula with a sharp front end to free each piece from the skillet bottom, such that the golden crust remains on the surface of the chicken.

Use the spatula to release the second side of the browned chicken rolls from the bottom of the skillet.

Add the chicken broth and the lemon juice (I like to mix them together first in a one pint measuring cup), and scrape the browned bits of chicken from the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon. Note, there may or may not be any browned bits of chicken to scrape! It all depends on how hard/long you fry the rolled up chicken in the olive oil, and on the quality of the spatula you use to release and then turn the chicken pieces over to brown the second side.

Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover the skillet and simmer the chicken until it is just cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Just don't serve chicken to your guests that is raw in the middle.

Transfer the chicken saltimbocca to the pre-warmed serving platter and put it back into the oven.

Simmer the cooking liquid over medium high heat, uncovered, until it is reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes.

Season the reduced cooking liquid with salt and pepper, to taste. Note, this was not necessary.

Note: Having made the reduced liquid and having used it on the chicken for one meal I decided that in the future I will reserve a few ounces after it is reduced, let the reserved amount cool slightly, mix in a teaspoon of cornstarch, and then pour that into the skillet, stirring, with heat, to thicken the reduction.

Remove the serving platter from the oven and remove the toothpicks from the chicken saltimbocca pieces.

Drizzle the reduced (thickened!) cooking liquid over the chicken saltimbocca.

Serve it immediately on the pre-warmed dinner plates, along with whatever other items you have prepared for the meal.