Slowly, but surely, I am sprucing up this site. I am no spring chicken when it comes to cooking, but definitely am one when it comes to web design. Yesterday, I added a search bar that should make it that much easier to find recipes featuring particular ingredients or old favorites.
To test out this new feature, I typed "chicken," and - low and behold - discovered that Menu For One did not yet mention a single recipe involving a chicken breast - America's favorite form of dinner time protein. I shouldn't have been that surprised, really. Truth is, I rarely buy chicken breast by itself. Boneless, skinless chicken breast is the most expensive cut of chicken at the butcher counter, and so I've tried to either a) buy a whole chicken (cooking it all at once and using the meat over the next several days) or b) buy cheaper cuts of chicken (a la the bone-in, skin on chicken thigh, which by the way, is MUCH more flavorful).
But that does not mean that chicken breast cannot be good eats. Enter Stage Right: Chicken Saltimbocca. I am happy to announce that this recipe came from America's Test Kitchen's 2010 Special Issue "Cooking for Two." You may remember that I asked for your opinion on their cookbook of the same name - do not be fooled. This is merely a magazine edition featuring two person servings of recipes they've featured in their magazine throughout 2010. [I feel like I'm the voiceover on an infomercial: "On newsstands now!"]
America's Test Kitchen was conscious that Menu For Oners hate throwing things in their refrigerator away, so they didn't write recipes that required only half a head of cauliflower or half a can of beans. Last night I tried out Chicken Saltimbocca, and I can attest that it meets this criteria.
Suffice it to say, if you could only take away three things from reading this recipe:
(1) It's cheap. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I think it cost less than $7...and that was with me buying the ingredients at Whole Foods!
(2) It's well-rounded: it's tender, it's crunchy, a little bit salty, and smooth.
(3) There won't be any leftovers (unless you plan for them).
Without further ado, I bring you:
America's Test Kitchen
1/4 cup plus 1/2 tsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 to 4 (3 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken cutlets, 1/4 to 1/2 in thick*
2 tsp. minced fresh sage, plus 4 large whole leaves (optional, but don't skip!)
2 to 4 thin slices prosciutto (about 3 ounces), trimmed to shape of cutlet
2 tbl olive oil, plus extra as needed
1 small shallot or 1/2 red onion, minced
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup dry vermouth or white wine
1 tbl butter, chilled
2 tsp minced fresh parsley
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
* For me, one cutlet is plenty...but most people probably would enjoy two.
Using a paper towel, pat dry the chicken and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Spread 1/4 cup flour on a plate and dredge the cutlets on both sides, shaking off the excess. Lay the cutlets on a cutting board. Sprinkle with the chopped sage and place a piece of prosciutto on top, pressing to adhere.
Meanwhile, heat the olive in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Place the whole sage leaves in the oil and cook for 15-20 seconds per side. Remove, and set on a paper towel (they should be a little crispy when you remove them from the pan). Next, carefully lay the cutlets in the pan prosciutto-side down and cook two minutes on each side (or until no longer pink). Transfer the cutlets to a plate and tent loosely with foil.
In the same pan, saute the shallot/onion in 1 tsp of oil for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the 1/2 tsp of flour, stirring for a minute to get rid of the raw flour taste. Whisk in the wine/vermouth, making sure scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced to approximately 1/3 cup.
Return the chicken (and any juices on the plate) to the pan until the chicken is heated through. Plate and return your attention to this magnificent sauce you have just made. Turn on the heat, whisking the btter, parsley, and lemon juice into the sauce. Give it a taste - does it need anymore salt or pepper? Mine didn't. You'll notice that the butter makes the sauce a little smoother; the lemon brightens the dish and will help balance out the natural saltiness of the prosciutto. This, in my opinion, was the best part of the dish. Spoon this magnificence over your chicken, top with the crunchy-fried sage leaves and serve. I could barely wait until I got to the table. Boring? No. Chicken again for dinner tomorrow night? Yes, please.