It's a classic Roman dish that never goes out of style, though there are many renditions of this cucina romana staple: saltimbocca alla romana. The name saltimbocca literally means "jumps in the mouth," which is what a great version of this dish should do, in terms of flavor. The elements are simple: great quality, super thinly-sliced veal scaloppine (though the dish works surprisingly well with chicken or turkey scaloppine as well -- just don't tell any Romans I said so!). Top-quality prosciutto. Fresh sage leaf. Local white wine. Good quality olive oil and butter, and a spritz of lemon and/or white wine vinegar. And that's it. No cheese, please. And for even cooking and simplicity's sake, I don't roll the scaloppine up. Flour is negotiable: coat the scaloppine in a light dusting of flour if you'd like a more pronounced crust to the meat and a slightly thicker sauce. But really, the beauty of the preparation is also its simplicity, like most great Italian dishes.
SALTIMBOCCA ALLA ROMANA
4 large slices prosciutto, thinly sliced
4 large veal scallopes, about 3/4 lb. total weight
4 fresh sage leaves
AP flour for dusting (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
6 TBS. butter
2 TBS. olive oil
6 TBS. dry white wine
Juice of one lemon or 2 TBSP. white wine vinegar
- Place a slice of prosciutto over each veal slice, so it’s just slightly smaller than the piece of veal.
- Place a sage leaf in the middle of the prosciutto and secure with a wooden toothpick.
- Dredge in flour mixed with a bit of salt and pepper, if desired
- Heat 2 TBS. butter and 2 TBS. oil in a large skillet.
- When foam subsides, add the meat, prosciutto side down.
- Brown on both sides until golden.
- Remove meat from pan and transfer to serving dish.
- Add wine to skillet, and stir to mix up the browned bits in the pan. Add lemon juice/vinegar here if desired.
- Turn up heat and let the sauce bubble for 1-3 minutes, to reduce to about 1/3 cup of liquid.
- Add the remaining 4 TBS. butter to the pan, a bit at a time, swirling to melt as you go.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, then place veal back in pan to heat through and glaze with sauce. Remove veal and place on a serving platter, pour sauce over meat, and serve.