Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Loca for Saltimbocca!

The chicken Saltimbocca and pan-roasted lemon potatoes I made for dinner last night were downright yum-inspiring. Typically, Saltimbocca involves chicken cutlets topped with sage and prosciutto. Simple and delicious, but sage is one of those herbs that can be a bit overwhelming. I'm not a huge sage fanatic unless it's in Thanksgiving stuffing, so I didn't go quite so deep off the sage end in this recipe. I'll give it to you in its entirety, and add my omissions (ha!) in parentheses.

Chicken Saltimbocca
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
4 whole sage leaves
4 thin slices of prosciutto
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry vermouth or white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Spread 1/4 cup flour in a shallow dish. Pat the cutlets dry with a paper towel and season with pepper. Dredge cutlets in flour and lay flat on a cutting board. Sprinkle minced sage (I didn't use fresh, I used dried) over the cutlets, top each with a piece of prosciutto, and press to adhere the ham to the chicken.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the whole sage leaves (this step is actually optional in the recipe and I skipped it ... even America's Test Kitchen acknowledges that sage can be overpowering!) and cook until the leaves begin to change color and are fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sage leaves to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Carefully lay the cutlets in the skillet, prosciutto-side down, and cook until lightly browned on first side, about 2 minutes. Flip the cutlets and continue to cook until no longer pink, about 1 minute longer.

Add shallot to skillet and cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. stir in remaining flour.Whisk in broth and vermouth, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened and reduced to about 1/3 cup, 3 to 5 minutes.

Return the cutlets to the skillet, prosciutto-side up, and simmer until heated through, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate.

Off the heat, whisk butter, parsley and lemon juice into the skillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over cutlets and garnish with fried sage leaves.

When it comes to the chicken cutlets this recipe calls for (yes, Jersey Shore-style!), you might have varying luck finding them. At my grocery store, it's kind of hit or miss. I didn't get lucky the other day, so I bought breasts and made my own cutlets. Just slice them in half horizontally (this is even easier if you put them in the freezer for a few minutes first), then use a meat mallet to pound them to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.

As for the potatoes, I discovered a new way of making crispy red potatoes that I'm a huge fan of (but the recipe needs a couple minor adjustments to make them perfect). Read the directions and let me know if you've ever thought of cooking potatoes this way!

Pan-Roasted Lemon Potatoes
4 to 6 small red potatoes, halved
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon parsley

Bring the potatoes, broth, lemon juice, smashed garlic clove and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a non-stick skillet over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until potatoes are just tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Uncover, increase the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic clove and add the oil to the pan. Arrange all the potatoes cut-side down and continue to cook until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.

Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and gently toss with the lemon zest, minced garlic and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Perhaps I wasn't paying close enough attention to the heat, but my potatoes were just a tiny bit overdone and I think that made it more difficult for them to brown in the final stages of cooking. I simmered them for 12 minutes, but 10 may have been better. They were amazingly delicious, so I'll be playing with the cooking time to make them perfect!


  1. That's what I call fancy!

    I don't think I've ever had sage, even in stuffing. And definitely not fried! Do they actually get crispy?

    I wouldn't think potatoes would get done by any methods other than boiling or baking... it's probably tough to gauge timing this way. But overdone is better than under cooked, right? Especially with red ones, which, correct me if I'm wrong, are less crumbly and more "soapy" (that sounds bad but I don't mean it that way, I really like them!)

    Funny you mention Jersey Shore, it's on tonight! They're always making something Italian that looks really good ;)

  2. It only sounds fancy. It's actually incredibly easy!

    I suppose sage leaves really would get crispy (most things do when you fry them!). I have a bit of an aversion to fresh herbs, though. Mostly because they always seem to be sold in such large packages, yet you use so little. And they don't stay fresh for long, so you end up throwing them out. Perhaps this year I'll grow my own fresh herbs. Although I definitely don't have a green thumb!