Saltimbocca alla Romana is one of my favorite dishes. It is delicious and very quick to prepare. It is a classic dish from Rome, and the name “jump in the mouth” refers to its deliciousness. The recipe for Saltimbocca is already on this blog, but my photograpic skills and tools were not back then what they are now, so I decided Saltimbocca needed a new post.
Saltimbocca consists of very thin slices of veal (chicken, turkey, or pork can be substituted) with fresh sage and prosciutto, quickly pan fried, and then a pan sauce is made by deglazing the pan with white wine. The main variations are whether the sage is inside or outside the prosciutto. Some recipes dust the meat with flour, and some may add some stock to the sauce. The prosciutto and fresh sage are mandatory (no boiled ham or dried sage). (I once had the most awful rendition of what they dared to call Saltimbocca in an ‘Italian’ restaurant in the Netherlands, where it consisted of pork with boiled ham, dried sage, baked with mozzarella and drowned in white sauce.)
I like to put the sage under the prosciutto, because then I don’t need to use toothpicks. Putting the sage on the outside would enhance the flavor of the sage though, and it is a matter of personal preference whether you like that better or not.
2 thin slices of veal, about 120 grams (4-5 oz) each
2 thin slices of prosciutto
2 large fresh sage leaves (or 4 smaller ones)
60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine
2 Tbsp clarified butter, or 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
If your butcher hasn’t done so already, place the veal between two sheets of plastic wrap…
…and pound until thin with a hammer (or the bottom of a heavy frying pan). The aim is to spread out the meat, not to pound it into the surface.
Season the veal with salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides. (Some people omit the salt on the side where the prosciutto will be.)
Place 1 large or 2 smaller fresh sage leaves on each piece of veal.
Cover with a slice of prosciutto. If you prefer to put the sage on top of the prosciutto, secure the sage with a toothpick.
Heat 2 tablespoons clarified butter or 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy frying pan over high heat (a non-stick pan is not recommended because of the splattering that will occur when you deglaze the pan with wine). When the butter is hot, add the veal, and cook 30-60 seconds with the prosciutto down over high heat. The prosciutto should become slightly crispy, but not too much.
Carefully turn them, and cook for 30-60 seconds more on the other side. The aim is golden brown and to avoid overcooking the veal.
Turn off the heat and transfer the meat to preheated plates. It is even better to put those plates in an oven at 60C/140F to keep the meat warm and finish cooking while you make the sauce.
Deglaze the pan with 60 ml white wine.
Stir over medium-high heat with a wooden spatula to get all the browned bits from the pan into the sauce.
Cook until the sauce has reduced by half.
Spoon the sauce over the meat, and serve.
This is great with a lighter style Chianti Classico, or another medium-bodied dry red wine.
Chiusoni alla Gallurese is a dish from Sardinia that consists of fresh pasta (also called malloreddus or gnocchetti sardi) with cherry tomatoes, pecorino cheese, and dried sausage.