Saltimbocca Chicken

Yield4 to 6 servings


Saltimbocca's name means to “jump in the mouth” with flavor. It is a restaurant dish, but at home on a weeknight, a chicken breast version makes a very tasty facsimile. Pound the chicken and marinate it in a mixture of chopped sage, garlic and olive oil, then brown it quickly before it goes under the broiler with cheese and a slice of prosciutto. Fried sage leaves make a savory garnish. There’s no sauce. Wilted spinach is the best accompaniment by far. Actually, it fits right in with the current nostalgic trend toward retro Italian-American cooking.

Serve with


  • 1 ½pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 4-ounce pieces
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 1tablespoon chopped sage, plus 24 large sage leaves
  • 2garlic cloves smashed to a paste
  • 1pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  •  Olive oil
  • 6thin slices prosciutto
  • 6slices fontina cheese (about 4 ounces)


  1. Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken to flatten a bit. Salt and pepper each piece on both sides and place on a platter. Sprinkle with chopped sage, garlic, red pepper flakes (if using) and olive oil. Massage in the seasoning to distribute, cover and marinate at room temperature for one hour, or refrigerate for up to several hours.
  2. Heat a wide skillet over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil looks wavy, add the sage leaves and let them crisp for about 30 seconds. Remove and drain.
  3. Brown the chicken breasts in the oil for about 2 minutes per side, then transfer to a baking dish large enough to fit them in one layer.
  4. Top each piece with 2 sage leaves, a slice of prosciutto and a slice of fontina. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling. Garnish with remaining sage leaves.

Originally published in The New York Times Saltimbocca Chicken, by David Tanis