Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken Breast with Sage
One of my favorite cookbooks is Keys to the Kitchen: The Essential Reference for Becoming a More Accomplished, Adventurous Cookby Aida Mollenkamp. It is a beautiful, well pieced together treasure trove of information and recipes. The moment I saw it, I knew I had to own it. Even after receiving five great cookbooks for Christmas from The Fellow™, this one is still my favorite (and I got some pretty good cookbooks this year!). While I’m no stranger to the kitchen and have found my happy little niche, Ms. Mollenkamp has opened my eyes to quite a few things I either didn’t know or didn’t know I was doing improperly.
This recipe is something that fell out of her book. It’s a recipe I’ve had bookmarked for awhile. It can be difficult to find prosciutto out here, believe it or not. Or if I do find it, it’s ridiculously expensive and it’s not something I can fit into my food budget. However, the other day while doing my grocery shopping, I decided I was going to splurge for our Christmas dinner. As I stood in front of the meat counter, I eyed a container of 4 or 5 pieces of prosciutto for $9. I swallowed hard. Talk about a ridiculous price. “Maybe I won’t make the chicken dish…” I thought. That $9 could buy my milk, my eggs, my cheese, and my 10 pound bag of potatoes. As I picked up the container, weighing my options (because I really wanted to try this dish), my eyes wandered up to the cold cuts in the deli case. The ones that the employees cut for you. Lo and behold, there was a huge chunk of prosciutto piccolo staring back at me for $14.99/lb. Considering I only needed 4 pieces, I knew I was going to walk away with a steal. Granted – the expensive stuff is better quality than prosciutto piccolo (though the packaging did not identify that it was anything but straight up “prosciutto”), but for a budget, it would have to do. I have had expensive prosciutto. I have had cheap prosciutto. I’ve had both types in Italy. I’ll be honest and say I really couldn’t taste a difference. At least not when it came to being wrapped around a moist, flavorful chicken breast and paired with veggies and peppery potatoes. Four pieces of this prosciutto ended up costing me a whopping $1.81. I’d say that’s a bargain. Mostly.
It’s incredibly easy to make and takes very little finesse. It really doesn’t take that long to make, either, however my meal ended up taking a bit of time as I was tinkering with my potatoes and trying to perfect them, and my chicken was slightly thicker than an 1″ and thus needed more cooking time. This also ended up not being Christmas dinner, but the day after Christmas dinner. We were headed to the movies and I lost all track of time with my fun new cookbooks and well… I had all the time in the world on Thursday instead.
Also: I ended up not using figs for the recipe, as the two stores I visited in search of figs yielded none. I mean REALLY, who doesn’t have figs? Even dried ones would have sufficed. You can at least rehydrate dried fruit.
Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken Breast with Sage
source: Aida Mollenkamp’s Keys to the Kitchen [Prosciutto Sage Chicken w/ Pan Roasted Figs]
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt + more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper + more for seasoning
4 – 6 sage leaves
4 slices prosciutto
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup apple cider (optional)
4 – 5 fresh figs (optional)
2 teaspoons white granulated sugar (optional)
1 Tablespoon butter (optional)
1. Pound chicken breasts to 1″ thickness.
2. Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Coat each chicken breast. Shake off excess flour.
3. Place 2 – 3 sage leaves on top of the chicken breast. Wrap each breast with 2 pieces of prosciutto.
4. Add olive oil to a large saute pan and heat over medium. Place chicken in the pan. Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. If your chicken is thicker, mind the time and cook longer until the meat is cooked all the way through.
5. (optional step) If using the cider to make a sauce, stir in at this point to deglaze the pan. Scrape the brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
6. Decrease to low heat and cover. Spoon the sauce over the chicken. Reduce the sauce down, about 5 – 7 minutes. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little water to desired consistency.
7. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
This recipe also included fresh figs, halved, and tossed in sugar. A little butter is melted in a pan over medium heat, and the halved figs are placed face down, cooking for about 3 – 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to be served with the chicken.