Saltimbocca! Go on – say it with an Italian accent. Don’t the words just roll off your tongue? This Roman classic literally means ‘jump in the mouth’ and that’s exactly what it does. Saltimbocca is a dish that tastes even better than it sounds.
Traditionally, Romans use veal but I’ve substituted chicken because my kids love it and it’s much cheaper. Provolone is not a standard addition, either, but I don’t think any Italians would argue with the oozy creaminess it provides. I usually serve saltimbocca with some lightly steamed green vegetables – beans, broccoli, or whatever your family likes best.
This is a dish that takes next to no time to prepare, but you could save time and feel extra smug by preparing the chicken in advance and leaving it in the fridge. Buon appetito!
- 500g chicken breasts
- 200g provolone dolce, sliced (see tip)
- 8 sage leaves
- 8-10 slices of prosciutto
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 50g butter
- juice of 1 lemon
- splash of white wine or marsala
- steamed green vegetables, to serve
- Chop any large chicken breasts in half or thirds, until no bigger than the palm of your hand.
- Lay chicken on a piece of baking paper. Place more baking paper on top. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, give the chicken a good bash until about half a centimetre thin.
- Place a slice of provolone and a sage leaf on each piece of chicken. Wrap prosciutto slices around chicken.
- Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook chicken pieces, cheese side up first, for 3-4 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan.
- Add lemon juice and white wine to pan juices. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat for 1-2 minutes. Strain into a jug.
- Serve chicken topped with vegetables, and sauce drizzled over the whole dish. Buon appetito!
Provolone dolce is a mild, semi-hard Italian cheese that is excellent for melting. It's available at good supermarkets and delis.