The saltimbocca (literally “jumps in the mouth” from the skillet, referring to the fact you have to eat it hot off the stove) is one of the flagships of the Roman-style cooking. This tasty dish is made of veal slices lined with prosciutto crudo (dry-cured ham) and sage leaves, cooked in butter and flavored with white wine. The origins of this recipe are uncertain. In any case, Pellegrino Artusi (a well-know Italian writer and gourmet in the 1800s) reported that he enjoyed saltimbocca in a historic trattoria (tavern) in Rome; after this event the dish started being served in several other taverns in the Capital and became popular throughout the Lazio region. Other sources, however, indicate that the origins are from Brescia (a Lombard city). Who really knows? The most important thing is that today, all over the country, we enjoy this fast-to-prepare and appetizing dish either as a second course or as main course. You can serve it with baked or mashed potatoes, or grilled vegetables and a salad.
SALTIMBOCCA ALLA ROMANA
Preparation time: 30 minutes Servings: 4
12 veal slices (scaloppine) 14 cm long and pounded to less than 1 cm (¼ inch) thick
12 thin slices of prosciutto crudo
12 large sage leaves
60 ml (¼cup) white wine
70 g (2.5 oz) unsalted butter
60 g (⅓ cup) all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
To save time ask the butcher to pound the veal meat for you.
1. Cover the entire surface of the meat with on slice of prosciutto. Then place a sage leaf on top of the prosciutto. Stick a toothpick through the meat to secure the prosciutto and the sage
2. Flour the scaloppine only on the meat side. Shake off the excess of flour
3. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and place the scaloppine, floured-side down, without overlapping
4. Cook for 5 minutes without turning, until golden
5. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add some salt and freshly ground pepper. Prosciutto crudo is pretty salty, therefore do not add much salt. I personally do not add it at all
6. Place the saltimbocca on a serving dish, keep warm. Cook the wine sauce for about 2 more min. Pour it over the meat and serve immediately. Saltimbocca is very tasty when eaten warm, right away!
Note: Prosciutto crudo’s taste depends on the aging time and the amount of fat present in the pork. Prosciutto di Parma (from Parma in Emilia-Romagna) has a distinct flavor due to the longer aging time when compared to Prosciutto S. Daniele (from Friuli), sweeter and lighter in texture, while Prosciutto Toscano has a much stronger and decisive taste because of the spices used to cure it. If you like you can add some mozzarella cheese (mozzarella for pizza)at the end. Remove the toothpick, add a thin slice of mozzarella, cover with a lid. Wait 1-2 minutes and then add some sauce and serve. -Paola