Friday, January 28, 2011

Saltimbocca "alla Romana"

Saltimbocca are veal scaloppini prepared very simply by assembling together slices of tender veal, prosciutto, and fresh sage leaves

< The name means ‘jump into the mouth’ the idea being that saltimbocca is so delicious that [it] prompts you almost by its own volition to pop a piece of it in without hesitating for an instant > as Waverly Root, famous journalist and food writer describes them.

Scaloppini are very popular in Italy, but in the United States it is quite difficult to find a butcher who knows how to properly cut them. Scaloppini are thin slices of veal cut from the top round, and the slices should be cut across the vein of the muscles so that the fibers of the meat are short and the meat is tender. If they are cut along the vein, as they usually are in the US, the meat curls and toughens while cooking. To help prevent the meat from toughening, make the slices very thin and thump them with a meat.

While there are many variations on this dish with the addition of cheese or Marsala wine, we opted for the simplest recipe, as it is cooked in Roman kitchens. (Please keep your cooking simple .... )

Saltimbocca alla Romana
Veal Scaloppini with Prosciutto and Sage

2 oz (60 gr) flour
4 veal scaloppini  slices,  about 1 lb (approximately 450 gr) 
4 prosciutto slices,  approximately 
3 oz (80 gr) 
4 leaves of fresh sage 
2 – 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
3 tablespoons (40 gr) butter
1/2 cup (120 cc) dry white wine

Put the flour on a large plate and add a pinch of salt. Dredge the veal slices in the flour, so that they are all well covered on both sides. Shake away the excess flour.
Place on each slice of meat, a slice of prosciutto ....

... and a leaf of fresh sage.

Secure the three together with a toothpick.
In a large frying pan, put the oil and the butter, and turn the heat to medium. When the butter begins foaming, place the meat in the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Be careful about salt as prosciutto is generally quite salty already.

Fry gently on both sides until light brown.

Add the wine, turn the heat to medium high, and let the wine evaporate. Place on individual plates, covering the slices with the sauce and serve warm.

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