Have you ever heard of Chicken Saltimbocca? During my restaurant days, it was one of my favorite dishes to prepare. It contained different components that came together in a symphony of flavors that truly did “jump in your Mouth”, at least according to the literal translation!
When I first started working in an Italian kitchen, Saltimbocca was made with veal, but these days chicken has replaced veal in just about every dish it used to be made with.
What do I need to make chicken saltimbocca?
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make a Chicken Saltimbocca. In Chef Speak this is called the Mise en Place which translates into Everything in its Place.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed the cooking process, but it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
Do I Need to add mushrooms to Chicken Saltimbocca?
No, you don’t. This is your dinner and you should always make it with ingredients you enjoy eating.
Some of the ingredients we use in restaurants have very specific purposes, while others are fillers used to bulk up a dish without bulking up the cost. Mushrooms have always been a favorite of mine for this purpose, and pasta, rice or grains take up a lot of room on the plate and can a meal much more enticing.
What type of Marsala should I use?
The first thing to remember when looking for Marsala wine to cook with is if you have a choice between dry or sweet, always choose sweet. The wine is not actually sweet but adds a more complex flavor profile.
This is going to go against everything you read from other chefs and publications. But this is the reason my Marsala Sauce is so much better than the rest.
My favorite Marsala will always be Pellegrino, my other recommendations are:
If you can only get dry, don’t worry. The sauce will still be delicious.
The first step is to lightly coat the chicken breasts in flour seasoned with sea salt and black pepper. Add olive oil to a hot pan and saute the breasts on one side for 2-3 minutes then turn to the other side.
When you turn the chicken breasts over, add the slice mushrooms to the pan. If you need additional olive oil add it now.
**mushrooms will soak up the oil as they cook.
When the mushrooms are fully cooked and both sides of the chicken have been seared, move the pan off the heat and add the Marsala. This is a good time to add the seasonings to the pan.
This will deglaze the pan, unsticking all the delicious little bits that have stuck during the cooking process.
The next step is adding the chicken stock and cream to the pan. Simmer over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. The sauce will begin to thicken.
While the sauce is reducing, saute (or steam) the spinach in another pan.
The next step is to add the beurre manie (softened butter rolled in flour). This will help thicken the sauce.
Once the sauce has thickened, turn the heat down to low and top each chicken breast with two very thin slices of prosciutto and shredded (or sliced) Fontina cheese.
Cover the pan to allow the cheese to melt.
Do I have to use prosciutto in the Chicken Saltimbocca?
No you don’t. It does enhance the flavor of the dish, but If you don’t like prosciutto leave it out.
Can I use another cheese in this dish?
Yes you can. Traditionally Fontina is used, but another soft mild flavored cheese could be used. Here are some suggestions.
Place a portion of the sauteed spinach on a plate and cover one edge with the finished chicken breast.
Add a splash of marsala to the sauce to bolster the flavor and spoon the mushrooms and sauce over the chicken breast.
**If the sauce is too thick or looks oily add a little water (or stock) to the pan.
As a former New Yorker now settled in an area where GOOD Italian food is hard to come by I tried this recipe for my family. I am NO chef – this dish was easy to prepare and FAR exceeded what we have gotten in restaurants both in presentation and taste! I am forever a loyal follower of your recipes!!
Chef Dennis Littley
Thank you for taking the time to leave such a wonderful comment! You made my day.
This seems a lot closer to chicken marsala instead of saltimbocca. I thought the essence of saltimbocca was fresh sage leaf and prosciutto. The marsala and mushrooms are throwing me.
Chef Dennis Littley
That’s how I was taught to make it by a chef from Italy, recipes vary all across Italy.
Made this for dinner and we loved it! I will be making this often!
I pound sage leaves (3) between the chicken and the prosciutto. Also, I use Madeira instead of Marsala.
This is fantastic! My husband loved it – better than our local Italian restaurant. Great recipe; Terrific instructions. Thanks Chef Dennis!
Chef Dennis Littley
I love hearing that Nancy! I hope you find more recipes on my blog to try.
Hands down, one of mine and my husbands FAVORITE recipes! I’ve been making it for the last few years actually and have never gotten a bad review, thanks for the wonderful recipe!!!
Just made this. My boyfriend’s favorite at restaurants, and he loved it at home. Chef’s kiss😍
william f, wilson (Bill)
Sounds delicious, looks easy.. Can’t wait to try it.
Even I couldn’t find the Marsala where I was at that moment, it’s just a lovely dish.
Also I didn’t have the onion powder, but I fried some garlic and onions with the spinach.
I was surprised by the tenderness of the chicken!
This will be a favorite!
This version was Delicious!! Very similar to local Italian restaurant, but the Marsala added a pleasant sweetness to the sauce. I did not see in the recipe where to incorporate the onion powder and sage, but was tasty without. Afterthought was to incorporate sage and onion into flour dredge mixture. Great recipe and will definitely be making again.
Chef Dennis Littley
I’m very happy to hear you enjoyed the dish, and sorry about not telling you where to put the seasonings. That would be when you add the stock and cream. This is also my basic chicken marsala recipe, just eliminate the spinach, prosciutto, cheese and sage.
dI made this recipe, it turned out perfect and my husband loved it. Thanks for a really great recipe!
Loved this! Made it last night. It tastes so good, and really is easy to make!
Mama Maggie's Kitchen
Incredibly delicious. I have to make this soon!
Skip the mushrooms? No WAY! They look like the best part to me!
Your recipes are always so stunning. This one is no exception!
My family and I love to try new recipes and new versions of the staples at our dinner table. This is such a lovely version! It was a hit with our family of six. Did I mention we rate (1-4 Stars) our dinners to see if they stay in the family recipe vault !?! 4 Stars-everyone wants to see this one again and again. Thanks Chef Dennis