I didn’t do much cooking last week, and in fact was deliberately letting the larder go empty a bit, in part because we were going out of town (even if only for a couple of days) and in part to kind of clean the slate. So when we got back, we immediately placed a Safeway delivery order for the next day to stock up again.
Since we don’t own a car and do live on the third floor, grocery delivery is a godsend. We were spoiled in the boomy days of the ’90s by Webvan and Kozmo, and my heart still aches from the loss of both of them. (Oh, and anyone remember Cook Express? That was convenience food that actually made me a better cook!) Safeway.com is a pale facsimile of Webvan, but it will have to do. On the whole, it’s great, except when they are conveniently "out" of all the heavy things.
One of the nice things about Safeway.com is a historical view of everything you’ve ever bought via the site. The downside of that is that I tend to buy many of the same things without checking first to see whether we still have some of it. Consequently, we have three jars of peanut butter, three blocks of cream cheese and lots of butter. But the freezer is the real black hole. I think right now we have two pork tenderloins, three pounds of flank steak and god knows how many boneless skinless breasts. It’s a regular barnyard in there. Did I mention I used to be a vegetarian? (Well, I did eat seafood.)
Anyway. As much of a from-scratch kind of guy I am, I am all about convenience food when it comes to meat and poultry. I happen to like the thin-cut boneless skinless breasts very much. I guess that’s good, cuz we’ll be eating on them for months. I find them convenient and well-portioned.
Portioning is key. When I was weaning myself back onto meat after some 15 years of fishetarianism, it was very hard for me to face a big slab of any kind of meat. Even still, I prefer thin, delicate cuts. And this is just one of the reasons why I love, love, love Italy. They are masters of the cutlet. And the equation of thin-cut meat, dredged in flour and fried in butter? Yeah, that cured my vegetarianism fairly handily.
So this chicken-based knockoff of saltimbocca (as opposed to the original veal, though pork works every bit as well) is one of those dishes I pull out now and again. It’s easy, it’s convenient and it’s pretty damn tasty. It’s easy enough to make on a Monday (as I did), yet also elegant enough to serve to company. Pic-a-rific recipe after the jump.
Edit: I forgot to mention that the sage for this dish came from my very own herb garden! It certainly is gratifying to pop out to the back stairs and pluck up some super-fresh herbage, as opposed to spending three bucks at the grocery store for herbs of dubious provenance and age.
3 chicken breasts, veal cutlets or pork cutlets
3 slices prosciutto
9 sage leaves
1/4 c. flour
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp parmigiano-reggiano, freshly grated
salt and pepper
Pat chicken breasts dry on both sides.
Season the breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Grate parmigiano over the tops, lay three sage leaves on each breast, and lay a slice of prosciutto on top of the whole kit and caboodle. Use the back side of a chef’s knife to tap the prosciutto down and help it stick to the chicken breasts. (Mine, stubbornly, did not stick so well this time.)
Gently dredge your saltimbocche in flour, shaking off excess. Again, my prosciutto was being a tad s
Fry over medium heat in butter and olive oil, prosciutto-side down first, for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Once you’ve removed the saltimbocca, you can make a quick pan sauce by adding a slosh of white wine and/or some chicken stock. Deglaze any brown bits stuck to the pan and stir to mix. Throw in some additional chopped sage if you like, and season to taste. Pour over the saltimbocca. Dress with a little side salad to make you think you’re eating something healthy, and voilà!