If there was ever a dish that is equal parts Italy and California, this would be it.
One look at the combination of prosciutto and sage and the classic Roman dish, saltimbocca, comes to mind. And it’s true: the basic ingredients and technique are definitely saltimbocca-esque.
But whereas saltimbocca recipe stops at the sage and prosciutto, this adds in two of my favorite California Fall flavors: ripe figs and local honey. The whole thing gets simmered together with local red wine and the result is a dish that’s decadent but not heavy and impressive but not fussy.
Made by browning then oven roasting the chicken and finishing with a simple pan sauce, this is a technique you’ll want to master because you can use it with all sorts of flavors in every season.
It’s also a pretty perfect date night or dinner party dish because it’s easy to pull together but majorly impressive. Oh, and a good portion of it can be handled ahead of time so that you don’t have to stress while trying to entertain.
Trim The Chicken: The key is to have all the chicken similar weight and thickness so that they’ll cook at the same rate. Ideally, you’ll want to use smaller chicken breasts that are about 8 ounces in size. If you can’t find them, go ahead and trim off the tenders and ends as needed to make a roughly 8 ounce piece.
Pound The Chicken To Even Thickness: As for the even thickness, that’s easiest to achieve by quickly pounding the chicken breast. You don’t need to get it super thin like you would for a chicken Milanese or a paillard but it will need to be about 1 inch thick.
Use A Good Heavy Bottomed Ovenproof Pan: The key to getting a well-browned chicken and a great pan sauce? A good quality frying pan. Any style of large (at least 10-inch) frying pan (aside from cast iron that would impart an off taste to the sauce) that is heavy bottomed and has an ovenproof handle will do the trick.
Get All Those Browned Bits! Once the chicken comes out of the oven, you’ll make the pan sauce, and all those delicious brown bits on the bottom of the pan (aka the fond in French) are key! When you add the wine, use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to really scrape up every last one of those bits because they’ll help flavor the sauce.
Make It Ahead: Did we mention this dish can be made ahead of time? You can make the whole dish up to 2 hours ahead of when you want to serve it and then keep it in a very low (about 200°F) oven until you want to serve it.
Want to see this made step-by-step? Check out our Fall Harvest Dinner Party virtual class where we cooked this recipe and share all our tips.
Okay, that’s it! Go ahead and stock up your panty with all the Italian essential ingredients, then try your hand at making this and then share your creation with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social!
trimmed as needed
gluten free if desired
stemmed and halved
Pound The Chicken To An Even Thickness: Use a sharp paring knife to trim any membranes and or tenders off the chicken so it is at most 8 ounces.
Place one chicken breast in a 1 gallon resealable plastic bag and remove the air. Using a meat mallet or a heavy bottomed frying pan, pound the chicken until it’s an even 1-inch thickness. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Wrap The Chicken With The Sage And Prosciutto: Place the flour on a flat plate, add the salt and a few cranks of pepper then mix with a fork to evenly combine. Working with one chicken breast at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour then shake off any excess.
Place the chicken on a flat surface and top with two sage leaves. Wrap 2 pieces of prosciutto around each chicken piece like a belt and tuck in the ends or use toothpicks to secure. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Brown The Chicken In The Pan: Heat an oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken, sage side down, and cook until golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes. Flip the chicken so the sage leaves are up, place it in the oven, and cook until it’s cooked through (the juices will run clear when you pierce it with a knife), about 10 to 15 minutes.
Start The Pan Sauce: When the chicken is ready, remove it from the oven and set the chicken on a serving plate. Return the pan to the stovetop over medium heat and add the butter.
When the foaming subsides, add all but 4 fig halves cut-side down and cook until browned, 3 minutes. Remove to a plate, season with salt and pepper and set aside.Stir the shallots and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
Cook Down The Pan Sauce: Carefully add the wine and, using the back of a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate and browned bites.
Add the broth, the remaining 4 sage leaves, the remaining 4 fig halves, and honey. Smash the figs into the sauce and cook until the sauce just coats the back of a spoon, about 3 to 5 minutes (add a few splashes of water if the sauce gets too thick).
Serve The Chicken: Discard any remaining smashed fig bites then stir in the browned fig halves. Taste and add more salt or pepper as desired. Spoon the sauce and figs over the chicken then serve immediately.
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