Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sage and Prosciutto Saltimbocca with Rosemary Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus

Want to get a copy of the recipe that is commentary free?  Go here.

Every once in a while, I’ll be flipping through my food magazines and think “this is going to taste good!”  These recipes from Taste of Home practically screamed that when I turned to the page.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Sage & Prosciutto Saltimbocca with
Rosemary Roasted Potatoes & Asparagus
I love a good sautéed chicken and there’s nothing better than a butter sauce with a wine reduction.  I also love prosciutto and when it is sautéed to a crisp, it is even better.  I’m drooling just thinking about it.  The potatoes and asparagus with rosemary and garlic are a bonus.  I don’t think there are two vegetables I like more than that.

© Taste of Home
This looks delicious, but I’m going to toot my own horn and say my chicken looks better.  Heck, I think my vegetables look better too. 

In terms of plating their dish, I think they threw a couple of sage leaves on top for garnish and it doesn’t look like they put any sauce on their chicken.  I’m not sure why because the sauce pulled everything together.

For more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessEH – Really, neither recipe had a terribly messy preparation step, although the potatoes did create the usual starchy mess.  There was hardly any equipment for either recipe, and everything was easy to clean.  Most of the mess came from making the chicken.  Coating it in flour and then having to move it creates a mess each and every time so be prepared for it.  You’re going to be dealing with raw chicken, so know you’re going to be doing a lot of hand washing.  Be careful putting the sauce on the chicken and tossing the vegetables… you can always create a mess that way.

Start-to-Finish Time: AROUND AN HOUR AND A HALF – That is for both recipes.  While the vegetables roast, you can make the chicken and sauce.

Servings: Since there are 4 chicken breasts, I did get four servings like the recipe stated.  There was plenty of sauce to go for each piece as well.  There was enough vegetables, although I honestly would have loved to have more potatoes.

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS – There is minimal prep for the chicken saltimbocca.  You have to juice the lemon.  For the vegetables, you have to trim the asparagus by snapping the stalk off at the tough part and cut the potatoes into smaller pieces.

Ease of Recipe: THE BASICS – The vegetables were very simple.  The recipe is straightforward and easy to follow.  The chicken had the additional wrinkle of having the prosciutto and sage on one side without it wrapped around.  It is a little tricky, but not impossible.  The reduction sauce isn’t challenging, but if you haven’t made it before, you want to watch it closely.

OverallSORRY HONEY, NO LEFTOVERS – How good was this dish?  I ate the leftovers the next day.  That is a very rare thing for me to do.  I get bored easily so I rarely eat the same thing two days in a row unless I REALLY like it.  This a rare exception (and the stuffed pizza from Arrenello’s – I just can’t get enough of it.)  Some commenters complained about the potatoes not being done enough, but my potatoes came out crispy and delicious.

Nutritional Information:
I am not a doctor or dietician.  I make my nutritional assessments with the aid of Spark Recipes.  I run the original recipe and my altered recipe through their calorie counter and then compute the differences I find.  My numbers are to be used as a guideline.  Anyone who is under dietary medical supervision should follow the advice of their medical professional if their opinion differs from mine.  PLEASE!

Serving Size = 1 chicken breast with 2 tablespoons sauce and 2 oz potatoes and 4 oz asparagus:
  • Calories 530
  • Total Fat 31g
  • Saturated Fat 7g
  • Cholesterol 128mg
  • Sodium 1226mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 12g
  • Dietary Fiber 2g
  • Protein 46g
I was a bit shocked with the fat content of this dish.  Only 7g is saturated, which means it does have a lot of healthy fats, but still, the number is a little frightening.  The sodium is also shocking, but not terribly surprising.  Each serving of chicken has a salted, cured meat on top and the recipe uses chicken broth.

I did make some changes to the recipe.  First I took into account how much flour I DIDN’T use.  The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of flour, but we don’t eat the full 1/2 cup.  After I dredged the chicken, I still had over 1/4 cup of flour left.  (DO NOT REUSE THIS FLOUR!  It has been contaminated by raw chicken.  You'll just have to throw it away.  You can always use less to start.) Also, I used a low-sodium all-natural chicken broth and fresh rosemary.  The nutritional information from my recipe is:
  • Calories 586.3
  • Total Fat 32.4 g
  • Saturated Fat 9.0 g
  • Cholesterol 131.4 mg
  • Sodium 1,301.1 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 23.6 g
  • Dietary Fiber 4.0 g
  • Sugars 0.6 g
  • Protein 51.6 g
So the result was relatively the same but slightly higher in all categories.  Kind of frustrating, actually.  It just means I won’t be able to eat it as often as I’d like.

There is some good news though.  These recipes are high in B-6 (important for production of hemoglobin and antibodies), Folate (helps tissues grow), Niacin (helps body release energy from protein, fat and metabolism), Phosphorous (formation of bones and teeth), and Selenium (an antioxidant needed for normal growth and health).

You’re going to find everything you need at your local grocery store although you may have to look for the fingerling potatoes.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Rosemary Roasted Potatoes & Asparagus - ingredients
1/2 pound fingerling potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Fit Wash, optional
Cooking Spray

© You Want Me to Cook?
Sage & Prosciutto Saltimbocca
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour, divided

4 boneless skinless thinly-sliced chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 fresh sage leaves
8 thin slices prosciutto

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
1/2 cup all natural chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine
Lemon slices and fresh sage, optional

Fingerling Potatoes – Essentially any small or petite potatoes will work, but look for fingerling because they are great for roasting.  I found the same potatoes labeled as gourmet, Klondike and petite.  A good substitution is new potatoes, but very small red petit potatoes can be used as well.

RosemaryThe recipe gives the alternative of 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary, crushed, for the fresh rosemary.  The good thing is that you can find rosemary in small packages at a very inexpensive cost.  In fact, a small amount of fresh is much cheaper than buying a bottle of the dried spice.

Fit Wash – Fit Wash is a vegetable/fruit cleanser that is citrus based to help remove dirt and waxy residue from produce easily. You don't need this product, but I honestly see a difference in my fruits and vegetables when I use it.

Cooking Spray – The pan you use to roast the vegetables needs to be greased. Cooking spray is the best way to grease a pan without greatly affecting the nutritional information negatively.

Chicken Breasts – the original recipe calls for regular cut boneless skinless chicken breast halves and then in the first couple of steps has you pound them out to 1/4-inch. I found thinly sliced chicken breasts instead and skipped that step.

Prosciutto – The original recipe gives deli ham as an alternative to prosciutto if you can't find it.  Prosciutto is a fantastic meat though… like bacon.  If you can find it – look in the deli section with the fine cheeses – I highly suggest going with it, even if it is a little more expensive.

Butter – The recipe doesn’t state if it should be unsalted or not, but I went with unsalted.

Chicken Broth – The original recipe calls for standard chicken broth, but if you can find low-sodium, organic or all natural, you will reduce the sodium by about half.  I know what you’re thinking… it didn’t in this case.  That just means a couple of things: (a) the original recipes were inaccurate, which is a big possibility, or (b) some of the other items I selected were higher in sodium than what was used by Taste of home (also a possibility, but I’m suspecting it was a little of both).

Lemon Juice - You'll need a medium-size lemon to get 2 tablespoons, if you are going fresh and I’d highly recommend it.  Yes, you’ll have to buy a tool to extract the juice, but it will be under $10 and then you won’t have to buy it again.  Lemons are cheap, but the lemon juice you buy isn’t… and you also get a little more than just lemon juice.

White Wine – The original recipe gives an alternative of chicken broth if you don't want to use white wine in your recipe.  I do think the wine gives the sauce a little something extra.  Don’t worry if you don’t have an open bottle of white wine.  I use a white cooking wine and it tastes great.


© You Want Me to Cook?
Sage & Prosciutto Chicken Saltimbocca with
Rosemary Roasted Potatoes & Asparagus - equipment
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Vegetable Brush
Garlic Press
Small Bowl
(2) Large Spoons
15x10x1-inch Baking Pan
Aluminum Foil

Shallow Bowl
Plastic Wrap
Meat Mallet
Large Skillet
Instant-Read Meat Thermometer
Small Bowl
Large Spoon

Vegetable Brush – If you’re using fresh lemon juice, you are going to want to clean the lemon peel well.  Although you are not using the peel/zest, you are going to be squeezing the juice with the peel in tact.  If you’re not using fresh lemon juice, you won’t need this tool.

Juicer – If you’re using fresh lemon juice, you’re going to need something to extract it from the fruit.  There are plenty of handheld, inexpensive tools that can get the job done easily.  Don’t think you have to run out and buy a $100 juicer.

Aluminum Foil – Whenever I’m cooking foods at high temperatures, I protect my pans with aluminum foil.  It isn’t a necessity, but I’ve saved many a pan this way.

Plastic Wrap and Meat Mallet – If you bought thinly sliced chicken breasts, you won’t need these two pieces of equipment.  However, if you buy standard chicken breasts, you’re going to need to pound them out to ¼-inch thick.

(1) Before prepping your ingredients, start your oven preheating at 400°F.

(2) Prep ingredients for potatoes and asparagus and start potatoes:
© You Want Me to Cook?
Rosemary Roasted Potatoes & Asparagus
- potatoes ready to roast
(a) In a small bowl, combine the potatoes, 2 tablespoons oil, rosemary and garlic; toss to coat.
(b) Transfer to a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Roast at 400° for 20 minutes, stirring once.

(3) Prep and start chicken:
© You Want Me to Cook?
Sage & Prosciutto Chicken Saltimbocca
- chicken prepped & ready to cook
(a)  Place 1/2 cup flour in a shallow bowl; set aside.
(b)  Sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
Your chicken breasts should be about 1/4-inch thick. If they are not, place them between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them thin with a meat mallet.
(c)  Top each breast half with 2 sage leaves and 2 slices prosciutto, pressing to adhere.
(d)  Dip chicken sides only in flour to coat.
(e)  In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat; cook chicken for 3-6 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and thermometer reads 170°. Remove and keep warm.
The original recipe said cook it for 3-4 minutes to get it to the 170-degrees. It took me about 6 minutes per side. Start monitoring the chicken around the 3 minute-mark and watch for over-browning and temperature.
(4) Continue with the potato and asparagus dish:
(a)  Drizzle asparagus with remaining oil; add to the pan.
(b)  Roast 15-20 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
Confession time - I forgot to stir my vegetables during the second roast. Good News: it was still tender and delicious!
(c)  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

(5) Finish chicken sauce:
(a)  In a small bowl, whisk the chicken broth, lemon juice, wine and remaining flour; add to the skillet, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan.
(b)  Bring to a boil (it will take around 2-3 minutes so don't go far); cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.

(6) Place a piece of chicken on each plate. Spoon the sauce over chicken. Top chicken with lemon and sage if desired. Add vegetables to the plate and serve.

So as I said before, this was one of my favorite meals I’ve ever made.  The chicken was moist, the prosciutto was crispy and the vegetables were perfectly cooked.  Of course, I thought about things that would make it even better:
  • I may add some finely chopped onions and garlic to the chicken’s sauce.  It was fine without it, but I really like onions and garlic.
  • I would leave the sage off the top of the chicken.  For me it was mostly for appearance, although I’m sure some of the scent and taste permeated the chicken.  Instead, I would add a little bit of dried sage to the flour.
  • Someone commented on the recipe that they simmered the chicken in the sauce for a short time.  I think I may do the same.
  • As for the vegetables, I would leave off the garlic until the asparagus was added.  Some of it got a little burnt by the time it spends 35 minutes roasting in the oven.
  • Finally, I would add more potatoes.  By the time I chopped them up and cut out some of the eyes, I’m sure I had way less than a 1/2-pound.
After writing this post, I now am hungry and I think only this will do!  I certainly hope some of you give this one a try.  If you do, let me know!

Until next time… happy cooking!


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