Monday, March 23, 2009

So Where Is the Sage?

And, no, I'm not searching for Gandalf the wizard. I am referring to this kind of sage.

That was my question when I went looking for a recipe to make chicken saltimbocca, and I came across this recipe on the Food Network's website.

The recipe from Giada De Laurentiis calls for no sage. No sage. Has she lost her mind?

Does she think that spinach is a legitimate substitute for sage, a wonderfully aromatic herb?

Mario Batali's chicken saltimbocca recipe properly calls for sage. So does the recipe of Lidia Bastianich. Although I ended up using De Laurentiis' recipe as a foundation for the chicken saltimbocca that I made this past weekend, I corrected her mistake. I not only used sage, but I picked up some fresh sage leaves from the grocery on Saturday.

I washed and then finely chopped the sage leaves and used them basically as De Laurentiis had used the spinach. I used a total of about 3 tablespoons of chopped sage. I placed 2 of the tablespoons atop the chicken cutlets, and the other tablespoon I added to the skillet sauce.

I also increased the lemon juice for this recipe to 3 tablespoons. And do make sure it's fresh lemon juice.

Two other changes that I made: 1) Immediately after removing the cooked chicken from the skillet, I deglazed the skillet with roughly 2 tablespoons of white wine; and 2) I didn't bother rolling the chicken cutlets as De Laurentiis did. To me, this is extra work that doesn't add any flavor.

Finally, if you're making chicken saltimbocca, don't cut corners by purchasing bargain-basement chicken breasts. This is one situation in which you truly do get what you pay for. Spend a little more and buy good organic, free-range chicken from a place like Whole Foods. It'll be worth it.

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