This looks soooo tasty and it was. 🙂 Your family and guests will really love this dish; so, give it a try. We did and loved it.
Back when I cooked professionally, I worked with some incredibly talented people. Some of these chefs were every bit as good as any “Celebrity Chef” we see today. They just went about their business making fabulous tasting food that was beautifully plated and people loved. It was always a pleasure to work with these people and just to watch them work. They taught me incredible amounts and gave me a true appreciation for food and its preparation. These are the people who truly taught me to cook. Of course, in the late 60s and 70s, there was no Food Channel and there wasn’t much in the way of cooking shows. We had Julia Child who was a wonderful human being and teacher but whose voice would (and still does) drive me nuts. There was Graham Kerr, “The Galloping Gourmet” who always entertained me with his antics and constant consumption of wine. Last, there was the Justin Wilson show with Justin Wilson spinning his cajun stories that would keep me laughing all while he was showing you cajun and creole dishes.
With the constant need to keep up with the Joneses and the explosion of fast food, cooking in the US started becoming a dying art in the late 70s through the 80s. People really lost the desire to cook as they were simply too busy and no one showed them how to cook. The fine dining scene was rapidly replaced with run-of-the-mill family restaurants and fast food. That all changed in the 90s with the advent of the Food Channel and all of their celebrity chefs, i.e. Emeril Lagasse (having long been a fan of the Commander’s Palace and having dined there on multiple occasions I already knew of Emeril and had even met him), Mario Batali, the Iron Chefs, et al. All of the sudden, people once again became interested in food. It was during this time that I was first exposed to Sara Moulton. I really enjoy Sara Moulton. She really doesn’t get the recognition she deserves. She is down to earth, remarkably talented and her instructions are easy to follow. Her recipes are well thought out and I have yet to try one that didn’t come out wonderful. This is one of her recipes.
Now, saltimbocca is an Italian/Roman based dish that was originally made with scallopini of veal and sage and marinated. It can be served as an appetizer or as an entree. At some point in its history chicken was also used as the meat, as was pork. Like every dish there are many permutations and spinoffs of the classic. In this dish, Sara added artichoke hearts. This is what caught Baby Lady’s attention and she e-mailed me the recipe with a request we make it for dinner. This is what we did.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, roughly 1-1/2 lbs
- 12 or so large fresh basil leaves
- 2 to 3 oz thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma
- 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup sherry (Don’t use cooking sherry!! Use the real deal or omit it)
- 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts
- 1 cup Homemade Chicken Stock
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
We purchased some incredibly thick chicken breasts; so, the first thing to do was slice the chicken breasts in half.
Place plastic wrap over a cutting board and another layer of plastic wrap over the chicken. Now, taking out the aggression of the day, pound the chicken a rolling pin or meat pounder until the breast is about 1/4 inch thick or so. (I prefer the rolling pin because I can pretend the chicken is Daniel aka Knothead 😮 and he deserves it)
Once pounded out, put basil leaves on the less smooth side of each pounded chicken breast.
Cover them with the prosciutto and press until they adhere.
Cover the breasts and chill them for 10 minutes or so. Then cut each breast crosswise in half.
Season the chicken pieces with salt on the prosciutto side
and then pepper to taste.
Carefully coat the chicken with the flour 1 piece at a time. You don’t want the prosciutto to come detached from the chicken. That would be a big no-no.
Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot; then reduce to medium and add the chicken to the skillet. My skillet would only hold 2 chicken slices at a time. Pounded out, these little bad boys take up a lot of surface space.
Sauté the chicken for 2 minutes or until the pieces are golden and gently turn, again being careful to ensure the prosciutto stays attached.
Sauté for another 2 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove them to a rack and place them in a preheated 200 F oven until ready to serve. Add another Tbsp of oil or so to the skillet and repeat the process with the remaining chicken until done.
Now, add the sherry to the skillet and deglaze the skillet scraping up the sucs or fond.
Add the chicken stock to the skillet
followed by the drained and chopped artichoke hearts.
Simmer until reduced by half.
When done, put a serving of rice on a dinner plate and place the chicken atop the rice.
Add the veggie, in our case sautéed snow peas.
Spoon sauce over the chicken.
Serve & enjoy! 🙂