Alternative Cooking Method To Traditional Veal Saltimbocca
Saltimbocca is a traditional Italian dish that dates back to ancient Rome. The name saltimbocca literally means "jump in the mouth" in Italian, which is fitting given its delicious flavor.
Traditionally, saltimbocca is made with thin slices of veal, topped with prosciutto and fresh sage, and then lightly sautéed in butter. The combination of the savory meat, salty prosciutto, and fragrant sage creates a mouth-watering dish that is sure to please any palate.
The origins of saltimbocca are unclear, but it is thought to have originated in Rome during the time of the ancient Romans. It is believed that the dish was created as a way to make use of leftover cuts of meat and that the prosciutto and sage were added to enhance the flavor.
History of Saltimbocca
Over the centuries, saltimbocca has evolved and can now be found in many different variations, with the most common being made with veal. However, other meats such as chicken and pork can also be used. In addition, the dish is often served with a variety of side dishes, such as sautéed vegetables, pasta, or a simple salad.
Today, saltimbocca is enjoyed by people all over the world and remains a popular dish in Italian cuisine. It is a simple yet flavorful dish that is perfect for any occasion, from a casual dinner at home to a fancy dinner party. Whether you are a seasoned cook or just starting out, saltimbocca is a delicious and easy dish to prepare and is sure to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire.
Veal saltimbocca, which probably originated in Brescia (a region of Lombardy in northern Italy), is a specialty in Roman cuisine. It is veal sautéed with prosciutto and sage in a butter/wine sauce.
My Problem with the Traditional Method of Preparing Saltimbocca
In the traditional fabrication method, two sage leaves are placed on a veal cutlet overlaid by a slice of prosciutto. A long wooden skewer is then threaded through to hold the veal and its toppings in place. This packet is then sautéed.
I have two problems with this method. First, skewers are always awkward. It's a somewhat tedious procedure to ensure they are correctly threaded. The skewer must adequately penetrate each ingredient to hold it in place and in such a manner that the entire packet lays flat so it cooks uniformly.
My second issue is that sage is not dispersed evenly. The cutlets are obviously larger than two leaves of sage. This results in a gastronomic mood swing. Some mouthfuls will be devoid of the herb, while others will be inundated.
My solution is first to chop the sage leaves. I stick with the basic formula of two leaves per piece of veal.
Pound the cutlets thoroughly so they are nice and thin. Season them with salt and pepper. Easy on the salt since the prosciutto is salty. Sprinkle the sage evenly on the cutlets. Top with the prosciutto and Fontina cheese, fold the cutlet in half and then pound it again.
Deliver extra whacks to the folded edge so it will not be inordinately thicker than the rest. This second pounding also seals the perimeter of the folded cutlet, holding everything in place.
Remember, when pounding meat, always use the smooth side of the mallet and cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap. This inhibits the tearing of the meat and prevents the jettisoning of errant projectiles all over your kitchen.
Veal Saltimbocca Recipe
- 8 fresh sage leaves cut in chiffonade, (as described below)
- 4 veal cutlets
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 4 slices Fontina cheese sliced very thin, optional
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 4 oz dry white wine
- To chiffonade the sage, tightly roll the leaves horizontally into a cigar shape. Then slice it end to end to produce little ribbons.
- Pound the veal cutlets to thin them out and season with salt and pepper.
- Evenly distribute the sage over the cutlets and then top each with a slice of prosciutto and Fontina cheese.
- Fold the cutlets in half and pound them again to a uniform thickness.
- Melt half the butter in a large skillet. Place the veal packets in the pan, brown the first side, flip and repeat. Remove the veal and reserve.
- Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping the browned bits off the bottom.
- Add the remaining butter.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Return the veal to the pan and briefly cook it on each side to coat it with the sauce and serve.
This is a taste explosion in your mouth. One of the best meals I have ever made. The only thing I can compare it to is a Cuban sandwich for the compexity/simplicity of taste. I paired it with garlic-olive oil pasta for a simple meal. Thank you
G. Stephen Jones
Sandy, you are very welcome.