I have to admit that pounding boneless, skinless chicken breast into a thin sheet and rolling it up with other ingredients isn't something I would have come up with on my own. In fact, I pretty much never buy boneless, skinless chicken breast because it seems like a waste of flavor and texture, but this "transformed saltimbocca" (saltimbocca is traditionally made with veal and prosciutto, rather than chicken and prosciutto) is a great way to rethink chicken dinner and the ingredient combinations are endless. In this version, I used house brandied cherries (so fun to incorporate them into something savory!), spinach, and sage, but other possibilities that have come to mind include: Mashed butternut squash + black olive, gruyere + thyme, parsley + coriander + lemon zest, or even tatsoi + sesame + miso - as you can see, really endless possibilities! A little bit of sweet is nice in any combination, as it pairs nicely with the savory qualities of the chicken and prosciutto. Although the preparation may seem complicated, once you get the hang of it, it's really simple and the actually cooking time is very quick. Below recipe makes 2 generous portions or 4 smaller portions.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4-8 thin slices of prosciutto (depending on size, see below)
About 20 fresh sage leaves, divided
1.5 cups fresh spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons brandied cherry juice
4-8 brandied cherries (2 per serving)
Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise to create 4 pieces and pound using a meat pounder or rolling pin to evenly flatten - pieces should be about 1/4-inch thick. If using a rolling pin, cover chicken with plastic wrap before rolling to prevent cross-contamination.
Sprinkle chicken with salt and ground pepper and lay one slice of prosciutto on each piece of chicken (use more than one piece of prosciutto to cover chicken if needed) followed by 3 leaves of sage per chicken cutlet. Reserve remaining sage leaves.
Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and briefly toss spinach with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of water. Cook just to wilt, remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and chop. Arrange spinach in an even layer over the prosciutto slices.
Beginning at the tapered end, roll up each chicken cutlet like you’re rolling up a cinnamon roll. Secure with a toothpick.
Chop 4 of the remaining sage leaves. Heat the tablespoon of oil in a dutch oven or deep skillet on high heat. Cook the chopped sage and chicken rolls until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the chicken broth and wine and scrape browned bits off bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Bring liquid to a boil then reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a platter and remove toothpicks. Continue simmering cooking liquid with 3 tablespoon brandied cherry juice over high heat until it is reduced to about 1/3 cup, or 5-7 minutes then toss in brandied cherries. Drizzle the reduced cooking liquid over the chicken. Serve on top of polenta or other starch with sage leaves and brandied cherries as garnish.
Polenta pairs well with saltimbocca because its soft, simple nature.