Easy-yet-no-way-authentic saltimbocca

This recipe applies the adage I use for dogs but for humans – if you want people to love it, wrap it in bacon.


Jarod and Toby, his not-so-glamorous and not-so-helpful assistant

This is a go-to staple of mine and while it’s inspired by saltimbocca it really isn’t one. I cook this a lot because Jarod and I eat a lot of fish… a lot; this is an equally healthy and easy alternative and cooks in the same amount of time.

Traditional saltimbocca (all Romana) uses veal, parma ham, sage and a splash of wine and butter. My one uses chicken (you can use veal if you want) and I’ve given you a few options for flavouring.

This serves two (including the wine)

Music to listen to while preparing this dish: ‘When I’m good and ready’ by Sybil


  • 2 chicken breasts or veal escalopes
  • 6 slices Parma ham at room temperature (like people, parma ham is easier to handle when it’s warm)
  • Juice half a lemon or equivalent of dry white wine


  • Option one – 6 leaves of fresh sage and zest of one lemon
  • Option two – zest of one orange and leaves of large sprig fresh time
  • Option three – zest of one large lemon, 1/2 teaspoon flaked nori, two large pinches black pepper
  • Option four – I’m open to suggestions, hit me up


  1. First things first, you need to make your escalope. To do this, put a sheet of cling film over a chopping board and put your chicken/veal on that. Cover with another layer of film and bash, gently, with a rolling pin or empty bottle until they are about a centimetre thick. The end result should be slightly bigger than a large man’s hand… See pic below.
  2. Take off the top layer of film and sprinkle your flavouring of choice over the top.
  3. Lay the slices of ham over the top of the flavouring ensuring that the slices overlap each other and hang over the edge of the escalope.
  4. Now tuck the ham under the escalope.
  5. Add a splash of olive oil to a large pan and heat over a medium high flame. Once hot, fry both escalopes, flour side down, for 3-4 mins.
  6. Once cooked and browned, flip and cook the underside for 2-3 mins.
  7. Remove from the pan and set to one side. Take the pan off the heat and deglaze with the lemon juice/wine (this should take seconds). This is your gravy.
  8. You can serve this with anything, but it’s also very good in a thickly buttered and very crunchy baguette.

Serve with a Mas d’en Compte Blanc – it’s a great wine that can handle everything you decide to throw at it

Saltimbocca in four photos

1) Flattened and sprinkled with sage, lemon zest and pepper (you won’t need salt)
2) Wrapped in Parma ham, tucked up and ready for the pan
3) Sizzling away… you fry them flavour side down first. When you flip they should look something like this
4) Ready to serve, crispy, salty, and tangy with the lemon juice

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