This dish is inspired by a traditional Roman dish made with veal and proscuitto. Translated literally from Italian, saltimbocca means “jump mouth” or “hop in the mouth,” implying that the dish is so good the flavors come to you. It’s best to pound the chicken breasts, for this or any recipe that calls for cutlets (or as the French call them, paillards). Chicken sold as cutlets in the grocery store aren’t actually pounded, but are horizontally sliced to resemble a cutlet. The meat contracts irregularly in the hot pan, making it tough.

The idea is to create an evenly thin piece of meat, not to pound it into oblivion. This technique works equally well with turkey, pork or veal.