This week’s challenge was to make an interesting chicken dish — maybe stuff it with something. I have learned from experience that I don’t like stuffing foods, particularly chicken. Stuffing has always seemed like an overly fussy task to me, and boneless chicken breasts are just not that easy to stuff or roll or otherwise manipulate.
So while I knew I didn’t want to stuff the chicken breasts, I did want to get a lot of different flavors in there. The first dish I thought of when my husband told me the challenge was chicken saltimbocca, which usually combines prosciutto, sage and chicken. I checked my cookbooks and the Internet for saltimbocca recipes and was inspired by a recipe from Outstanding in the Field, which wraps the prosciutto around the chicken. I could slip something flavorful underneath — in this case, mozzarella cheese — and saute the whole bundle.
I used chicken tenders instead of full breasts, because I figured this dish would be rich and we would want smaller portions, and it would be quicker and easier to cook the smaller bundles. (If you use full-sized breasts, you may want to cut them in half and pound them thinner so they will cook faster.) One piece of prosciutto wrapped neatly around the tender, and I secured it and a sage leaf on top with a toothpick, removed before serving. The prosciutto contained the cheese nicely and kept it from oozing all over the saute pan.
Both my husband and I loved these. The prosciutto was crispy and infused with sage. The mozzarella was oozy but not messy. And the chicken wasn’t at all boring. I would definitely make this again, and it was so easy that it could be a weeknight dish. We discussed stuffing different things under the prosciutto, such as roasted peppers or spinach. This would be a fun dish to experiment with.
I served this with a hearty Italian-style salad of chopped greens, cabbage, carrots, red pepper, celery and croutons, topped with a mustard vinaigrette.
Prepare 2-3 chicken tenders per person. Salt and pepper each piece of chicken (go easy on the salt, because the prosciutto will also add saltiness). Lay 1 slice of fresh mozzarella on top of each tender. Wrap each tender in 1 slice of prosciutto. Place 1 sage leaf on top and secure with a toothpick.
In a saute pan, heat a generous amount of olive oil over medium-high until shimmering. Lay the chicken pieces in the pan, toothpick side down, and cook until the prosciutto has crisped and the chicken has cooked halfway through, about 5 minutes. Turn over and cook the other side until the chicken is down and the prosciutto is nicely browned.
Remove from the pan to a plate lined with paper towels. Gently remove the toothpicks. The sage leaves should adhere to the prosciutto. Serve immediately.