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.
I love saltimbocca recipe , so delicious! Fantastic Italian recipe
I love saltimbocca recipe , so delicious!
Looks absolutely delicious! I think the prosciutto really makes the difference in this dish. All that salty goodness!
Well, I know what I’m making with my chicken this week! Looks amazing!
Delicious, I love saltimbocca. I usually prepare it with veal but this chicken variant is really delicious to!
This is so delicious and your tips made it really straightforward. Thank you!
I can’t wait to make this and there will definitely be mushrooms!!
This meal might just be our new favourite! We love how comforting it is, and the flavours are superb! The mushrooms are a tasty touch!
Hi Dennis, I want to make this for my daughters engagement party, to serve 25-30 people. Can I make trays of this the day before and then bake for dinner time next day. Can I make the sauce early or at serving? If it’s possible how would you do it? For that many people what’s the best accompaniments?
Chef Dennis Littley
This is a great choice for a party.
I would oven roast the chicken breasts (season well) undercooking them a little so they can finish in the oven.
You can make the sauce ahead of time if you need to, and reheat it at the time of service. It will thicken, thin it out with more marsala or chicken stock when you reheat it.
Put the chicken on the baking tray, add hot sauce, top with prosciutto and fontina finish in 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.
Place on top of the spinach when you move it to the serving dishes.
I would do either mashed or roasted potatoes and a nice salad, either Cesaer or Garden. Roasted potatoes can be cut, oiled and seasoned ahead of time, then placed in a 350 oven 35-45 minutes before you finish the chicken.
Hope this helps
Hi Chef, I also would like to make this ahead of time – I’m planning to bring it to Xmas dinner, and need to make enough for about 20 people. Just to clarify, would you recommend doing everything up ’til step 11, and then finishing the dish in the oven, re-warming the sauce? Thank you!!!
Chef Dennis Littley
I would cook the chicken till its almost done. You can grill it, cook it in the oven or saute it. Season the chicken well before cooking. Cook the spinach ahead of time or before serving whatever works best for you. Make the sauce on the stove top and when you’re ready to serve put it together and finish it in the oven, adding the sauce before serving.
This is a great dish for groups.
Thanks so much! We’re doing a trial run tonight, we’ll see how it goes 🙂
While my note is many years past the original posting date of your recipe, I thought I’d still throw in my comments. I have been making Chicken Saltimbocca now for, gosh, over thirty years, and it’s always been a favorite of my family. I learned to construct it a bit differently, but I doubt it makes a huge difference in taste, if at all. After pounding the breasts flat, I place the prosciutto and cheese on top of each breast portion, then roll them up snugly, tucking in the edges and ends, securing each with toothpicks. I give them a quick egg wash before dredging each in a fresh breadcrumb/flour/parmesan/sage mixture and pan fry in an unsalted butter/olive oil mix over medium to medium high heat until a light golden brown before transferring to the baking dish. Several members of my family have never acquired a taste for spinach unfortunately, so I’ve had to substitute there. I usually toss asparagus spears with olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon and sea salt before grilling them to a crisp-tender consistency, then fan out 5 to 7 spears under each breast for plating. Everything else is practically identical, including the idea of adding the mushrooms!! Yummmm….
Chef Dennis Littley
thanks for your comment Belle and I’ve always said recipes should be guidelines and easily adaptable to our own tastes. Thanks so much for sharing your version!
My husband fell in love with me when I made this. I served it over wild mushroom ravioli!
Chef Dennis Littley
what a great way to serve it! I’ll have to try it
I am trying to figure out what I am missing. The recipe is basically strong, but the cooking times are ridiculous. If you pound the chicken breast to the thickness shown in your photo of the plated dish your cooking times of 5 minutes per side & 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven would produce chicken jerky. I sauteed mine around 1 1/2 minutes per side & 5 minutes in the oven. Tell me what I am missing.
Chef Dennis Littley
your right Bob, you can definitely reduce the cooking time, I do saute over a medium heat as high heat tends to toughen the meat and as for the oven time it says about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Whatever works for you is good.
yes you can , just don’t cook the chicken all the way, I would top it with everything, reserve the sauce. heat it up at 350 for 15 minutes or until 165 degrees then top with the hot sauce when you serve it.
Can I saute the chicken and mushrooms first then hold it for an hour or so and then bake it in the oven would that be ok. It is a time thing for me
Thank you so much for letting me know! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it!
this looks amazing. I love fontana cheese and anything w mushrooms and wine works for me
Oh my, this looks fabulous! Definitely going to try it soon. Fontana cheese is hard to find here, any thoughts on a good substitute?
I have used Mozzarella, that works well with the dish, you just want a cheese that melts well and doesn’t over power the dish.
mm. I love chicken Saltimbocca, but mine is never as pretty as this!
I was searching for a recipe for this and found yours. I know it will be fantastic so this is the one I’m going to make!
Thanks Maureen! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
I made this tonight for our Friday night supper. We loved it. Thanks so much.
Thank you for letting me know! I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed it!