Pork Chops Saltimbocca

I hate to admit it, but most of the time when I make dinner after work, we end up eating around 9 p.m. I'm trying to find some quicker recipes so that doesn't happen as often. As much as I love whipping up an elaborate dinner, I also love having a bit of time to put my feet up and relax in the evening. That rarely happens anymore.

When I made this dish, we also ended up eating around 9 p.m., but that was only because we hadn't gone grocery shopping in a while and needed to run to the store before it was possible to throw together anything suitable for a dinner.

So, knowing I didn't want to spend all night cuddling up with the oven, when I got home from work, I rummaged through some magazines and cookbooks, looking for quick recipes. I flagged a bunch of favorites, and when my boyfriend came back from taking his dog out, I had him pick one. He chose pork chops saltimbocca with sauteed spinach (minus the spinach) from the August 2009 issue of Gourmet.

We made a quick shopping list, hit up Whole Foods, and returned home... hungry. I knew the pork chops would be quick, and we had selected some potatoes for a side that would take a bit longer to cook, so I got those started first. I preheated the oven to 450 (which is the temp the pork chops needed and would be suitable for the potatoes too); halved some small potatoes; laid them on a foil-lined sheet pan; tossed them with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder; and put them in the oven to roast. Then I set a large pot of lightly salted water on the stove to boil for corn on the cob while I made the chops.

The dish is so simple that now that I've prepared it once, I could probably do it again without even looking back at the recipe. My version is below with a few changes: We used three pork chops instead of two, substituted boneless for bone-in (I just think they're less of a hassle), and left out the sauteed spinach.

Pork Chops Saltimbocca (adapted from Gourmet, August 2009)
Serves 2 hungry people

3 (1-inch thick) boneless pork chops
3 sage leaves, finely chopped
Several thin slices of fontina (for the cheesiness level you prefer)
3 thin slices prosciutto
1 TBS olive oil
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 TBS fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Carefully slice through the middle of each pork chop, leaving one side intact. Open the pork chops and lay them out on the counter. Sprinkle one-third of the sage in each one, then layer on thin slices of fontina, and a slice of prosciutto. Close the pork chops, keeping the filling tucked inside.

Season both sides of the stuffed chops with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron (or oven-safe) skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, saute pork chops, about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Transfer skillet to the oven and roast chops until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove pork chops from skillet, set aside on a plate, and tent with foil. Return skillet to the stovetop.

Add butter and lemon juice to hot skillet. Stir to combine and then pour sauce over the pork chops. Then... dig in!

I served the chops with the potatoes, which I left in the oven until we were ready to eat, and the corn on the cob that I dropped in the boiling water after I finished preparing the chops. Corn takes such a short amount of time that it's best to just cook it when everything else is finished. Otherwise, I find that as it sits, it gets cold and mushy -- not very appetizing in my book.

These pork chops are not only easy and quick to prepare but also flavorful and filling. I can't imagine anyone who likes pork chops not liking these. And some of those who are anti pork chops -- understandably so as pork chops are usually overcooked and dry -- might even have a change of heart after trying this juicy, stuffed version.

My boyfriend is pretty picky, as you might all know by now. I consider it a success when I can break away from the usual ingredients and still make something he likes. The strongest flavor I tasted was the sage, and he happens to like sage, so no problems there. He admitted he was a bit hesitant about the fontina, but fontina's definitely not a strong cheese, in my opinion, so I figured he'd like it, and he did. I mean, this dish is basically meat-and-cheese-stuffed meat -- who wouldn't love that?

However, if you're not a fan of sage or fontina, I bet it would be pretty easy to swap in a different herb and cheese. And if for some strange, strange reason you don't love prosciutto, you could always try bacon. I would cook it first though as the chops are in the oven for such a short duration that the bacon would likely not cook in that time.

Try this for a quick weeknight meal!

And just a little tidbit: I've heard that saltimbocca means "jumps in the mouth" in Italian. That is such a cute way to express the zing of flavor found in this dish and others with prosciutto and sage.