Chicken Saltimbocca

If I have sage on hand, this is one of my favorite dishes to put it to good use: chicken saltimbocca.

Chicken Saltimbocca

Saltimbocca is Italian for “jumps in the mouth” as all of the core flavors to this dish are really vibrant when they come together. Surprisingly though, there are countless variantions on saltimbocca as it is apparently popular in Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Greece where the featured meat, sauce, and garnish can all differ greatly (e.g. chicken, veal, pork, wine, salt water, oil, etc). The one commonality across all of these interpretations of the dish though: roulades stuffed with that mentholy, peppery flavor of sage and the richness of prosciutto. In this version, I stuffed chicken breast roulades with fresh sage, basil, goat cheese, and prosciutto and then top it off with some Marsala and mushrooms. This dish is also my entry for this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Kalyn from Kalyn’s Kitchen. My regular readers might notice that this is also similar to goat cheese chicken roulades, a dish which is basically chicken saltimbocca junior in my household . 😉

  • 1-1.5 lbs Chicken breast/veal scallopini
  • 1/4 – 1/2 lb of very thinly sliced prosciutto (as in Parma ham)
  • Herb paste:
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • ~10 large leaves of tarragon/basil
    • ~10 large leaves of Sage
    • Dried oregano
    • 6-8 cloves of garlic
    • No more than 1/2 cup mozzarella/goat cheese
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms (I used portabella)
  • Handful of flat-leaf parsely
  • 1 egg
  • either some flour or Italian flavored bread crumbs

Saltimbocca fresh herbs Pulsed down to pesto-like

First, prepare the pesto-like filling. Put the garlic cloves, sage, tarragon/basil, dried oregano, and a dash of extra virgin olive oil in the food processor and pulse until everything is chopped finely. Then, add your cheese and give it another quick pulse or two just to get everything mixed. Set this mixture aside. You’ll use it to stuff your chicken with a ton of flavor, and the cheese will also help to hold things together a little bit (not much 😉 ).

Chopped mushrooms and parsely

While your knife is still clean, chop up your parsely somewhat finely and your mushrooms to medium-sized chunks. Set these aside–you’ll use this to make a simple sauce/glaze towards the very end of this dish.

Pound the meat thin and spread the pesto

Now, time to prepare the meat. If you’re going veal, you can probably buy a scallopini-style cut, in which case, you’re all set. If you’re going chicken, butterfly and/or pound it with a meat mallet to get it as thin as possible. Then, spread your pesto-like paste evenly on top of each flattened piece of meat.

Lay on some prosciutto

On to my favorite part of this dish: lay a few slices of prosciutto on top of each piece (and eat a few while your hands are clean), doing your best to cover every square inch of the herb paste. As prosciutto is pretty thinly cut, I lay on a few slices–you don’t want to make it too thick, but one measely slice simply isn’t enough prosciutto.

Mmmm…prosciutto topped chicken

Form roulades

Now, carefully roll up each piece of meat as tightly as you can into roulades. You might want to prop some toothpicks through the meat or tie with some string to hold things together–I tend not to, but if it looks like they could just unravel at any moment, you probably should.

In a small bowl, beat an egg, and in another, set aside your breading whether it be flour or the breadcrumbs (you don’t need very much).

Bread and fry the roulades

Dip each roulade in the egg, dredge in the breading, and fry on medium/medium-high heat in some olive oil. Roll/flip the meat to prevent burning and to cook everything evenly, but be careful about turning your meat in the pan as you don’t want to accidentally unroll your roulades. This should take somewhere around 7-15 minutes depending on whether you’re chicken/veal and how thinly you pounded your meat earlier. Overcooking veal is a bad thing (same for chicken, but worse for veal 😮 ), so be careful.

Simmer the roulades in sauce

Once cooked through, pour in the marsala and the broth. Add in your chopped parsely and mushrooms, lower the heat, and stir everything up. Put a lid on and simmer things for about 20 minutes, checking in to stir and flip periodically until the liquid has reduced by at least half. The liquid will go from sloshy to thick and saucy, almost to the point of merely glazing the meat (which is what you want). The mushrooms help with this in that they suck up a lot of that moisture as well.

When done cooking, depending on the length of your roulades, you’ll probably want to slice each into halves or thirds before serving in the name of both reasonable portions and showing off that nice swirl in the center. 😉 Then top with a drizzle of extra sauce and a few mushrooms from the pan.

I usually serve with either creamy garlic pasta or roasted Italian-style potatoes depending on what I have on hand.

Enjoy!

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18 Responses to “Chicken Saltimbocca”

  1. Kalyn Says:

    I love any type of chicken that’s rolled up and stuffed like this, and this one has a wonderful-sounding combination of flavors! I love the idea of sage and basil combined in a type of pesto! Great photos of the process too, nice job!

  2. Lydia Says:

    I am essentially pretty lazy in the kitchen, so I love that you can now buy thin-sliced chicken breasts in the supermarket. I never bothered much with roulades before, but now they are quick and easy to make. And the sage will be available in my herb garden until the first snowfall.

  3. foodie froggy Says:

    OOOohhhhhh, I love Saltimbocca ! It’s a simple dish, yet creative…and so tasty.

  4. mike Says:

    Kalyn — thanks! I really love using sage but hardly use it enough and it always impresses me to see what it can do for a dish.

    Lydia — I’m not sure why, but I have fun prepping and thin slicing the chicken. Go figure. But yea, they’re surprisingly simple but sound and look fancy which is good in my book! Sadly sage is something I overlooked planting this year…

    foodie — you and me both. :-)

  5. Shawnda Says:

    Guess who just picked a bunch of sage this morning and had no idea what to do with it. I’m a sucker for stuffed chicken, too, so this is going on the menu this week!

  6. Katie Says:

    Oh my, does that look good! I love the sage pest! I normally just use whole leaves – and lots of them. I also cheat and make them ‘open-face’. Maybe I’ll try a propper one yet this fall.
    I agree, one must always have twice the Prosciutto – one the the meat; one for the mouth!

  7. Pam Says:

    I have made this with pork, but never with chicken. This will be perfect to use up the last of my sage before it dies back.

  8. gay Says:

    I bet this would also go well with rice :)

  9. mike Says:

    Shawnda – welcome! I definitely need to get some sage growing next year. This is a good way to get some quick mileage out of it. Let me know how it goes!

    Katie – open face sounds just as good. I’d probably be temped to pile something else on there…just not sure what. And I’m not sure why prosciutto just hits the spot for me.

    Pam – and it figures, I’ve never seen it with pork before. Sadly the rest of my herbs seem like they’re thinking about calling it quits now as well…

    gay – welcome! I hadn’t thought of rice, but I believe you’re right. Also got me thinking…maybe like a mushroom risotto kind of side…

  10. A.G. Says:

    THIS IS NOT SALTIMBOCCA…Saltimbocca It’s comprised of veal, sage leaves and prosciutto PERIOD…THIS IS HEARSAY I SAY…HEARSAY…WHEN WILL PEOPLE LEARN TO RESPECT TRADITION!

  11. katty flor Says:

    bueno entendi mazomenos io al parecer va salir riko ya k mañana tengo k hacerlo pero aki dice que no solo le pertenece a italia
    i a mi me pidieron un plato italiano bn rebuskado…osea k no sea plato bandera buuuuu

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  13. Bella Says:

    This looks absolutely delicious!!! I love how you prepped and took pictures through the entire process which for me makes it easy to follow if I know what it should look like. The only draw back I find is that the calories, fat, sodium etc content for this dish isnt listed somewhere on your page. Since Im really trying hard to eat healthy I tend to rely on that valuable information but I think I could work this out.. Thanks again for your recipe and pictures!!

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  18. Bruna Says:

    MMM that sounds so good. I am trinyg to cut down on our meat consumption this year. Can you believe my family of 5 can put away 3 lbs of chicken at one sitting??? Hubby picked up 10 lbs of chicken yesterday..I had it sliced thin, and i am planning on separating it into TEN packs for TEN dinners! Love your blog!

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