Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers

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Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

These chicken fingers are fast food, Mouse-House style. They’re the perfect thing to make when you Just Need To Eat, Like Now (a fairly common occurrence at our place these days, given that we just moved). The dish is really versatile—and easy to throw together on the fly. It’s one of the things I like to whip up when friends pop over unexpectedly.

In terms of prep, these chicken fingers only take a few minutes to put together. Drop a few handfuls of fresh basil leaves onto your chicken tenders. Then wrap a slice of prosciutto around each. Fifteen minutes in the oven, and the prosciutto is nicely crisped, and the chicken is cooked through and juicy as can be.

About buying prosciutto

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

Now, I almost always have a little prosciutto in the house. If that sounds like a cost-prohibitive practice in this crappy economy, hear me out.

Most big American delis will sell two basic kinds of prosciutto: domestic and imported.

Now the imported stuff—real prosciutto de Parma—is great, but it’s expensive. We generally save it for occasions when we want to enjoy its rich, buttery texture uncooked on its own, or wrapped simply around ripe slices of fig or melon.

When we use prosciutto to cook, however, we generally get the domestic kind, which is much cheaper. (Our butcher, McKinnon’s, carries the stuff for $5.99 a pound, which is much better than the $17.99 price that its imported cousin commands.)

Any kind of prolonged cooking generally toughens up the tender slices of salty pig, so domestic is just fine for cooking in my book. In the case of these chicken fingers, it gives the chicken a sort of unsmoked, paper-thin, bacon-y wrapper.

I also only really buy a half pound at a time, to ensure that it doesn’t dry out before we use it up. To me, that’s short money for a really flavorful ingredient.

As fancy as you want to be

To serve this as part of a more elegant dinner, get a little fancy with how you arrange the herbs under the prosciutto. It’s fairly translucent when cooked, which means that the herbs will show through.

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

While we’re on the topic of fresh herbs

Indulge me for a minute.

People never believe me when I say this the first time, but: I love to garden. (Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in the city for so long. But it’s true. I love to garden.) I love to dig and get messy. I especially love to plant things that I can cook or eat—which makes all the sense in the world, I know.

For this recipe, I used basil that I have growing in my new container garden on our back deck.

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

Since we get a ton more sun at our new place in Salem, one of the first things I did was plant a kitchen container garden. (OK, we’re not planning on eating the cacti…) It was right up there with making strawberry ice cream. It was just something that I had an inexplicable and urgent need to do. Before we finished unpacking. Before we totally explored our new hood. (And of course, completely vexing The Angry Chef yet again.)

My Kitchen Garden at The Hungry Mouse

Whenever I’ve been able to—and even when I wasn’t supposed to—I’ve planted a large kitchen garden. Sometime, ask me about the years I spent living on the top floor of an old movie theater, where I planted a secret garden on the roof, complete with pink flamingos and an embarrassing expanse of astroturf.

Hands down, I love to play in the dirt. And when you cook a lot, nothing beats just walking outside and snipping off whatever you need for dinner.

Oh, if you can make it out, there’s a baby fig tree nestled in one of the pots in the center. I’ll be writing more about that little guy soon. I bought him at the farmer’s market here in Salem, and the guy who sold him to me promised that he’d bear figs next year. I’m not sure I’m entirely convinced it will work, but I’m going to try my best. Stay tuned for that.

Serving suggestions for chicken fingers

I usually whack them into nibble-sized pieces and serve them on a platter as an appetizer. I don’t bother getting fancy with the presentation. You can also serve them whole, with a side of rice and a big, crunchy salad. Or on a bulkie roll topped with fresh tomato sauce and sprinkled with grated Parmesan and sliced provolone.

You can also replace the basil with sage. Or fresh garlic, sliced paper thin. Or cilantro. Or sliced apples. You get the picture.

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

A note on portion sizes and recipe scaling

I find myself saying this a lot lately: This recipe is more method than actual recipe. It’s one of those recipes that works just as well for one chicken finger as it does for one hundred—which makes it easy to feed the crowd you have on hand.

One chicken finger = one piece of chicken, two or three basil leaves (depending on their size), and one piece of prosciutto.

Scale away! I’ve done the recipe below to feed about 4 as a main course.

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers

12 chicken tenders (or chicken breast sliced into strips)
12 slices prosciutto
about 24 basil leaves
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
olive oil

Serves about 4 as a main course, or 10-12 as an appetizer, depending on how you slice them up.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set it aside.

Wrap the chicken in prosciutto

Grab your chicken tenders. If you like, you can also slice up larger chicken breasts into tender-sized strips. Totally up to you.

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

Put a few basil leaves on top of the chicken. Use enough basil to cover the chicken (so that each bite has a piece of the herb).

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

Grab a piece of prosciutto. Starting at one end of the chicken tender, wrap the prosciutto around the chicken, keeping the basil leaves in place, so it looks like a little mummy.

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

Don’t worry if some of the basil peeps through. You’re not going for perfection here. (That will happen by itself in the oven.)

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

Set the wrapped-up chicken on your prepared sheet pan. If the ends of the prosciutto are peeking out, tuck them under the chicken. I don’t bother toothpicking them. They stay together just fine.

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

Repeat with the rest of your chicken tenders.

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

Drizzle a little olive oil on each piece of chicken. Then sprinkle with a little kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

Pop the pan into your pre-heated 425-degree oven. Bake for about 15 minutes.

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

Fifteen minutes should be long enough to cook most chicken tenders. (If you cut your own, and they’re on the thick side, cut into one to be sure.)

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

They’re done when the chicken juices run clear and the prosciutto is nice and crisp.

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

(That little one there is for the dog.)

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

If you’re a meat thermometer type of person, you’re aiming for 165 degrees.

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

Serve and enjoy! They also reheat really well, and are great at room temperature—or even cold.

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

Prosciutto and Basil Wrapped Chicken Fingers at The Hungry Mouse

 

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

37 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Jessie,

    This sounds like a great Labor Day treat.I have made something similar with prosciutto,apple,rosemary on boneless chicken breasts.

    Great idea – cant wait to try your recipe.I am with you the good stuff is best with melon balls.

  2. as usual, it looks so yummy! good tips on the prosciutto. thanks. also, your herbs look wonderful. my basil plant is so fickle, do you have any tips on basil? do you fertalize, do anything special, etc? thanx

    • Thanks so much, Tianne. 😀

      Oh, gosh. Basil. Hmmm. I usually pot in Miracle Grow soil that has the fertilizer in it. Then keep it in as much sun as possible. My plants are always happier when I nip leaves off regularly (and flowers, too, if they ever get to the point of budding). Keeps the plants from getting leggy.

      Cheers!
      +Jessie

  3. what a wonderful idea! I love the prosciutto and chicken great combination. I wish I was able to have a little garden but since I live in an apartment complex that’s not possible. I’ll just admire your awesome container garden 🙂

  4. Yum! Those would make great easy apps for my next party. We have a mature fig tree on our property…we usually just go pick ’em and eat them on the porch, but maybe i’ll have to look up a few recipes for them this year (hint, hint!)

  5. Hi Jessie -This chicken/prosciutto/basil was so moist and flavorful. You had the saltiness of the prosciutto and the freshness of the basil. I used the last of my basil in my own garden. I am thinking this winter I may spread a little goat cheese on the chicken before I wrap it. You are so right-the variations are endless. It’s all about flavor paring and seasonal ingredients. Thank you for the great pictures and informative text. I am sort of feeling like Julie in the Julie and Julia movie. Maybe I should blog about this! I really enjoy following you on twitter.I am @jinnyberkopec
    Thank you for all that you do!

    • Oh, gosh…thank you so much! Wow. Yay. 😀

      I’m really glad that you like ’em. Give a holler and let me know what other combinations you come up with!

      Cheers!
      +Jessie

  6. About to pop these in the oven. My wife and I are prosciutto de Parma junkies, but I picked up some domestic to make these tonight.

    Now that you are in Salem, be sure to check out Gulu Gulu Caf on Essex St. Awesome beer menu and great atmosphere. My band played there a little while back, and we look forward to coming back.

      • They turned out great, though I’ll probably skip any added salt next time for the sake of my blood pressure. They passed the reheat test tonight! We’re thinking of doing a turkey variation for the holiday season.

        • Oh, glad you liked ’em! Yeah, how much salt (if any) you add is totally to your taste. Also, I’ve found that some prosciuttos are saltier than others. Let me know how the turkey version works out if you try it!

          +Jessie

  7. Drizzled lightly with a balsamic reduction turns up the “wow” factor. Makes it party food over which the friends marvel. And you smile and simply say “Thanks”.

  8. Put the chicken on a nice bun with some swiss cheese and diced tomatoes and served it for lunch yesterday. My father in law loved it, RAVED about it and he doesn’t like anything I do.

  9. I made a sample one this morning, preparing them later for our first tailgater of the year. Fantastic!! I can’t wait tip the hubby gets home so he can try!! Didn’t change a thing. Perfect cooking time!

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