When I was attended college in Baltimore, I had the opportunity to be a mere twenty minutes from Baltimore’s Little Italy. It’s located right between Baltimore’s infamous Inner Harbor and Fell’s Point and is a true Italian enclave. Established in the early 1900s during a wave of Italian immigration, the community has continued to flourish and has some of the best Italian food in the country. There are bocce ball courts, a beautiful Italian church, and a pastry shop, Vaccaro’s, with the most decadent, beautiful and enormous Italian desserts you have ever seen. La Scala, one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the area, serves up some of the most authentic, exquisite Italian food I have had in America.
I was lucky enough to be treated to meals here every once in a while by advisors or parents of friends visiting for the weekend. One the dishes I had here was Vitello Saltimbocca – veal saltimbocca and as you can probably gather by now, it was absolutely unforgettable to me. The saltimbocca dish is traditionally prepared with veal, sage and prosciutto – but because veal can be very pricey, I’ve recreated this dish with chicken to create an easy to prepare but truly luxurious dish. This is a great date night meal, as it it can be made relatively quickly but is incredibly impressive. Enjoy it after a plate of Spaghetti Aglio e Olio and beside a fresh Insalata Mista | Mixed Salad.
- 2 chicken breasts (about 1 lb) split in half, lengthwise
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 4 sage leaves
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese (optional)
- Split chicken breasts in half and pat dry. Set aside.
- In a shallow baking dish, combine flour, salt and pepper. Mix together with a fork, set aside.
- On a clean plate or cutting board, lay down one chicken breast. Adhere one sage leaf to the breast by pressing gently with your fingertips. Place a slice of prosciutto on top of the sage and press firmly down to adhere it to the chicken. With a sharp knife or food-safe scissor, trim any prosciutto that is hanging over the chicken breast. Repeat with remaining breasts and set aside.
- Set a heavy bottomed saucepan or cast iron skillet over a medium high flame. Heat the pan, then add olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Allow butter to melt and olive oil to heat through. The oil is ready when water flicked into the pan sizzles.
- Dredge the chicken breast into the seasoned flour and carefully shake off any excess flour. Place the chicken in the hot pan prosciutto side up and sear both sides – about 3 minutes per side. When it is finished, the prosciutto should be crispy. Work in batches so as not to crowd the pan. Set aside when finished.
- Into the pan, add the white wine, and allow to reduce by half and thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan continuously with a wooden spatula or spoon to remove any brown bits from the chicken.
- Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to finish the sauce – melt and return to a simmer.
- Return the chicken to the pan and cover. Allow the chicken to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the breast is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The sauce should have thickened by this point.
- *Optional* If you choose to enjoy this dish with mozzarella, cut mozzarella so that is slightly smaller than the size of each breast. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add one slice of fresh mozzarella on top of each breast. Cover and allow mozzarella to melt.
- Plate the chicken and spoon sauce over top. Enjoy immediately.
Please note that cooking times will differ depending on the size of the chicken breast you are using. Chicken must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to be safe for consumption.