Chef Elena Besser created this easy chicken recipe as a fun play on two classic dishes — chicken paillard and veal saltimbocca. This approachable dish feels fresh and healthy but has the flair of crispy prosciutto, fried sage and aged balsamic glaze that makes it feel special.
While a classic veal saltimbocca is secured with a toothpick, Besser created this deconstructed version to keep things low pressure for a weeknight dinner. Despite that, this dish is tasty enough, and feels elegant enough, to prepare for a nice dinner party.
Start by crisping up prosciutto and sage in a pan. Then, you’ll use a meat mallet to pound chicken thin before seasoning it with salt and pepper and cooking it in olive oil until golden brown and crisp. To keep the cooking time short, use your downtime to make a quick and easy salad dressing by whisking together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. To serve, dress the arugula and half of sage-prosciutto mixture, add one cutlet to a plate, top with arugula, garnish with reserved crispy prosciutto and sage and drizzle with aged balsamic.
Technique Tip: Remove the chicken breasts from the refrigerator 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking to bring to room temperature. Don’t have balsamic glaze on hand? Make your own by reducing balsamic vinegar on the stove.
Swap Option: Swap in basil for sage. Feel free to use skinless, boneless chicken thighs in place of the breast meat. For a special occasion, try swapping in veal for chicken.
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 5-ounce package thinly sliced prosciutto (about 12 slices)
- 1 bunch sage leaves (about 20 large leaves)
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
- 5 ounces arugula
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- aged balsamic glaze, for drizzling (optional)
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add prosciutto in a single layer in the pan and cook until crispy, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining prosciutto until all pieces are crisp.2.
In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add sage leaves and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, flipping occasionally, or until fragrant and crisp. Transfer to a separate paper towel-lined plate to drain and sprinkle with kosher salt. Finely chop the crispy sage and prosciutto and set aside.3.
Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Working with 1 piece at a time, place chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, rolling pin or heavy skillet, pound to ¼" thick. Season all over with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.4.
Pour 3 tablespoons olive oil into the same large skillet and heat over medium-high. Working in batches, cook chicken until golden brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate or wire rack to rest and lightly tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.5.
In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper until emulsified. Add arugula and half of sage-prosciutto mixture to the bowl and toss to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste. To serve, add one cutlet to a plate, top with arugula, garnish with reserved crispy prosciutto and sage and, if using, drizzle with aged balsamic.