I love the funny and sometimes foul literal translations that are often missed by (usually) clumsy American corporations trying to sell Perdue Chicken to Spanish speakers or Coke to the Chinese. Those of us who attempt to learn new languages come across these same translation errors rather frequently, as when I was trying to learn Farsi and kept calling male guests "monkeys" because the words and pronunciations are so similar. I have a Ukrainian friend who tries to use American English phrases but ends up saying things like "You are riding me crazy," and "I have a head attack." Sometimes being lost in translation can give a whole new context to old ideas.
One of my favorite quick weeknight meals is saltimbocca made with chicken rather than veal. I don't bother whacking the chicken thin and rolling it in the ham. Rather, I wrap chicken breasts and sage with the Proscuitto then fry the bundles in olive oil and butter with a handful of capers. Once the chicken is cooked I add white wine, lots of lemon juice, and reduce the sauce for a few minutes before adding a pat of butter. The best part of the dish are the crispy fried sage leaves I serve as garnish.
What has saltimbocca got to do with translation humor? According to my trusty Food Lovers Companion, the Italian term saltimbocca literally translated means "jump mouth." Sounds kind of, well, kinky. Or maybe violent. But other sources tell me that the flavors of saltimbocca are said to jump in one's mouth (a.k.a. saltimbocca is flavorful).
I decided to combine my favorite chicken dish with my favorite dish-dish (pizza). The results were pretty good and yes, the flavors jumped from the plate to my mouth.
Pizza SaltimboccaServes 2 to 3
Crust for one very thin pizza
3 tablespoons olive oil
About 15 whole sage leaves, fresh
6 ounces Provolone
Zest from 1 lemon plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
6 ounces cooked chicken, pulled apart
3 thin slices of Prosciutto, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Heat olive oil in small pan and fry sage leaves about 30 seconds each (do not cook longer than 1 minute). Remove sage from oil and drain on paper towels. Season with coarse salt.
Combine sage-flavored oil with lemon juice, garlic, capers, and chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Par-bake crust in 425 degree oven until just beginning to brown and crisp; about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cover evenly with Provolone. Top cheese with oil-chicken mixture. Nestle Prosciutto evenly within chicken. Top with Parmesan and return pizza to oven. Bake until cheese is completely melted, about 15 minutes. Garnish with crispy sage leaves and red pepper flakes.