Parmesan Chicken Breasts with Crispy Posh Ham

This image courtesy of David Loftus

Editor's Note: Adding some Italian flavor to your chicken will be bravissimo for a dinner party or special event. Part of that charm will be the preparation, where pounding on your chicken to flatten it out ahead of time allows this dish to cook quicker along with tenderizing it. Pairing the ham with the chicken breasts is a classic Italian style of cooking. The juices from the ham will easily seep in while they are cooking atop the chicken breasts. The lemon and thyme will also help to enhance those flavors. Think of Florence and Rome as you dig into this succulent dish. 

This is a great way to prepare chicken breasts. The texture of the crisp cooked prosciutto goes brilliantly with the tender chicken. Bashing the chicken out thinly before you start cooking eans it cooks much faster than a regular chicken breast. If you can’t get hold of prosciutto, then any kind of thin ham, such as Parma ham, or even smoked streaky bacon will work just as well.


Cooking MethodSauteeing



Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe CourseMain Course

Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Gluten-free, Low Carb, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free



Taste and TextureCheesy, Crisp, Herby, Meaty, Savory, Sharp, Umami


  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 skinless chicken breast fillets, preferably free-range or organic
  • Freshly ground blak pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 ¼ ounces grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 slices of prosciutto
  • Olive oil  


  1. To prepare your chicken: Grate your Parmesan. Pick the thyme leaves off the stalks. Carefully score the underside of the chicken breasts in a criss-cross fashion with a small knife. Season with a little pepper (you don’t need salt as the prosciutto is quite salty). Lay your breasts next to each other and sprinkle over most of the thyme leaves. Grate a little lemon zest over them and sprinkle with Parmesan. Lay 3 prosciutto slices on each chicken breast overlapping them slightly. Drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining thyme leaves. Put a square of plastic wrap over each breast and give them a few really good bashes with the bottom of a saucepan until they are about ½ inch thick.

  2. To cook your chicken: Put a frying pan over a medium heat. Remove the plastic wrap and carefully transfer the chicken breasts, prosciutto side down, into the pan. Drizzle over some olive oil. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, turning halfway through giving the ham side an extra 30 seconds to crisp up.

  3. To serve your chicken: Either serve the chicken breasts whole or cut them into thick slices and pile them on a plate. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over and a good drizzle of olive oil. Lovely with mashed potatoes and green veggies or a crunchy salad.

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This has been my go-to recipe for about a year, ever since I saw a Jamie Oliver/Mark Bittman video on this recipe. It has a lot of flavor and always cooks up perfectly. Thank you, Jamie.


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