Chicken Saltimbocca will forever be my first love. Making a restaurant-style chicken saltimbocca at home is something I tried to do long before I started writing down my recipes or using the internet to find recipes.
I remember sitting at Mamas, a restaurant in Copiague, when I ordered it for the first time. It was one of the first times my parents let me order off of the adult menu. I looked through and found something I would never find at home. And for some reason, the saltimbocca caught my eye.
We didn't go out to eat often as kids so this was a very clear memory for me. My memory of it is quite faded and to be honest, when I first attempted to recreate it when I was learning to cook, I ended up with spicy chicken saltimbocca. Definitely not the classic saltimbocca that I remembered. Still a classic in my mind though.
Now, that I've come all this way, I have learned the errors in my ways. I can now make a silky smooth, restaurant-style chicken saltimbocca. Although, I still mess around and make my spicy chicken saltimbocca all the time.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Chicken breast. The chicken breast needs to be sliced thin and pounded. In order to make it extremely tender this is an important step that CANNOT be skipped.
White Wine. I use sauvignon blanc for this recipe. I really liked this brand I found called Sea Salt. It's great for drinking and cooking with!
Butter. Unsalted butter is ideal but salted butter will also work fine.
How to Make Saltimbocca
A true saltimbocca is a difficult dish because the chicken can overcook quickly. The sauce can turn into a watery mess. Or the prosciutto can cook into a gray piece of bologna. You also have to move quickly once you finish the chicken to make the sauce so that the chicken is still warm.
This recipe works because it takes you step-by-step through the process and why I choose to use certain techniques
Preparing the Chicken
Prepare chicken by slicing it thin and pounding it out. Normally, saltimbocca is made with veal, not chicken. Veal is thinner and more tender than chicken, so it is important that we make the chicken as tender as the veal could be. I try to slice 4 cutlets from each chicken breast and then cover them with plastic wrap to gently pound and tenderize them.
Top each chicken cutlet with 1 sage leaf and then a slice of prosciutto. Smack the prosciutto on to make it stick. When I say smack it on, I'm being literal. Place the prosciutto over the sage and smack it. This will adhere it to the chicken.
The other option is to thread the prosciutto to the chicken with a toothpick. I don't like to do that because it always bends the chicken. Salt the chicken side and then dredge the chicken side in flour.
Sauteing the Chicken
In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil to medium heat. Place chicken, prosciutto side down for 5 seconds, and then flip to the chicken side. You want the prosciutto to barely kiss the frying pan. Leave it on there, and it will turn gray, chewy, and gross.
Flip to the chicken side and saute in the olive oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165℉. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish.
Simmering the Sauce
In the same pan, add 2 tablespoon butter and toss in some sage leaves. Once the foaming subsides remove the sage and add the white wine. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half.
The sauce will reduce to the point where you can drag a spoon through and create a trail. Give the sauce one squirt of lemon juice at this point, stir, and then pour over the chicken.
Serve chicken saltimbocca with rice and vegetables, or maybe even our Favorite Maple Bacon Brussel Sprouts.
Reheating Chicken Saltimbocca
This dish is not easy to reheat because of how thin the chicken is. It is best served fresh because of this. I highly recommend serving fresh and not using this for meal prep. The microwave will dry out the chicken and the taste will not be the same because the prosciutto will overcook.
If you must reheat, I'd put butter in a pan with some chicken broth and bring it to a simmer then add the chicken to the pan. It may be able to save some of the moisture in the chicken.
Top (and very IMPORTANT) Tip
It is very easy for the white wine sauce to separate and become oily. It should be an opaque brownish color. If you start seeing the oil separate, add 2 tablespoon of water. Stir it and it should come together and look brown and creamy again. Next time, lower your heat just a little bit more for the sauce.
The most abundant flavor is the sage which is leveled out by the bright lemon wine sauce and savory prosciutto.
Yes. A Restaurant-style chicken saltimbocca is a difficult dish but can absolutely be mastered by reading THIS BLOG. It's important to know what steps are coming next because everything happens quickly with saltimbocca. It took me a couple of times to get the sauce right!
What Should I Serve with Saltimbocca?
- I love a good vegetable side dish with saltimbocca so I'd make the Italian Cabbage or Brussels sprouts!
- This dish would also go great with a bowl of soup like white bean and lentil soup or creamy mushroom mascarpone soup.
- Saltimbocca also goes great with pasta, so serve it alongside an amatriciana, carbonara, or garlic anchovy pasta.
- Nothing goes great with a classic Italian dish like a classic Italian dessert. Share some Pistachio-cream tiramisu after your saltimbocca.
Saltimbocca has a special place in my heart because it was the first dish that I ordered from a restaurant that wasn't something my parents had made me before. It was the first new and explorative eating experience that I can remember discovering.
If you love this restaurant-style chicken saltimbocca, leave us a review below to tell us where you had your first bite of saltimbocca or what you thought of our recipe. Follow us on Instagram @vindelgiudice or Tiktok @alwaysfromscratch. Check out some of our other favorite classic Italian recipes below!
Our Favorite Italian Classics
Restaurant-Style Chicken Saltimbocca
- 1 large pan
- 2-3 chicken breasts, sliced thin
- 8 oz prosciutto
- 1 bunch sage leaves
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup flour
- 2-3 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Prepare chicken by slicing it thin, topping it with 1 sage leaf, and then a slice of prosciutto. Smack the prosciutto on to make it stick or thread it with a toothpick. Salt the chicken side and then dredge both sides in flour.
- In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil to medium heat. Place chicken prosciutto side down for 5 secs and then flip to the chicken side and saute for about 5 minutes. Set chicken aside.
- In the same pan, add 2 tablespoon butter and toss in some sage leaves. Once the foaming subsides, add the white wine. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half. Once reduced, add lemon juice and pour over chicken.