Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Saltimbocca alla Romana

(Made 25 November 2006)

I am assured that this is the most classic of Roman dishes but as I’ve never been I can’t confirm. I first had Saltimbocca, which means Hope-In-The-Mouth, at a Roman friend’s house and the recipe below is loosely based on his. I say loosely because it is from memory and Andrea may very well have done something frightfully clever which I’ve forgotten.

The combination of veal, sage and Parma ham is one of those that is so perfect that you simply can not imagine an improvement. The addition of butter and white vine just serves to bring the whole thing together.

  1. Veal Cutlets (for main course assume about 250 grams per person) flattened out to a thickness of about 0.5 cm;
  2. Parma ham enough to cover the cutlets;
  3. 1 large leave of fresh Sage per cutlet;
  4. 100 grams of floor;
  5. 2 tablespoons of butter;
  6. 1 large (175 ml) glass of white vine;
  7. Salt & Pepper;

Put a leave of Sage on each cutlet and cover with the ham. Fold over and fix in place with a toothpick (if you have time to do this a few hours before so that the sage has time to infuse the meat that’s even better). Mix floor, salt and pepper together on a large plate and use to coat the veal. Melt the butter on a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil (this is just to increase the frying temperature of the butter) and start frying the Saltimbocca. After about 1.5 min turnover and fry for another 1.5 min before adding the white vine. When the vine is all but evaporated and it and the butter forms a thin sauce the Saltimbocca is ready. Serve with the sauce pored over. I never serve anything with the Saltimbocca but if you wish roast potatoes go perfectly as will fresh veggies such as string beans.

To turn the Saltimbocca into Saltimbocca bites as per the menu below instead of the cutlets buy veal fillet. The fillet needs to be about a hand wide and long enough so that you can roll it up. You then prepare the veal exactly as above except you roll it up instead of folding it. After frying the veal you then stick toothpicks through it at about 1 cm intervals and then cut the rolled up veal to form the “bites”.

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