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The magnificent Saltimbocca alla romana

An Italian classic and one of the best veal/beef dishes, just because of the incredible prosciutto umami

ingredients for 4 servings (cost about 6 € pp)
  • Salt
  • 500 g veal round cut in 16 very thin slices
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto “dolce” or other not too salty prosciutto crudo
  • Black pepper
  • 16 sage leaves
  • 60 gr butter
  • 40 ml EV olive oil
  • 150 ml white wine
  • Flour for dusting
  • Sage flowers (optional)

Saltimbocca alla romana is a great conception, which combines the Italian prosciutto with the veal and the sage.

The dish seems easy, but it needs a relative familiarity, in order to achieve a tender and juicy result and a well bound sauce, created by the flour, the white wine and the melted prosciutto fat.

To make the saltimboccas we need very thin, lean and perfectly trimmed of any fat or membrane slices from the veal round, so we tell our butcher to prepare the meat for us. I have to tell that we have to prepare the saltimboccas for 4 persons in two batches, as there is no pan large enough for all the slices of meat.

The crucial point of the preparation is the saltiness of the prosciutto, as to obtain a perfect tender result we must put the meat slices in brine and a salty prosciutto would provoke an excessive saltiness. So, instead of common prosciutto, I suggest you using prosciutto crudo dolce (you can very easily find it), which is sweeter and less salty.

At my favourite organic market I found sage flowers, which have a very concentrated sage aroma, so I decided to enhance and also to decorate the dish with them.

Let’s start.

First of all we put the meat slices in a brine, made by 1000 ml cold water and 50 grams salt, well diluted. We leave the meat in the brine for about an hour. In the fridge of course.

We pat dry the meat and we sprinkle with black pepper. We cut the prosciutto slices in halves and we arrange them on every meat slice along with a sage leave.

We take a toothpick for each slice of meat and we pass it at each end (catching the prosciutto and the sage), so that we tie all the ingredients firmly. This way, they will not open during the frying process.

We lightly flour, only the “free” side of the meat and not that of the prosciutto, removing the unnecessary flour with a slight shaking.

We heat well 20 ml of olive oil and 20 g of butter in a pan and we put half the amount of saltimboccas. We fry ONLY from the side of the meat, because prosciutto, when fried, smells bad. During frying, we are constantly shaking the pan, so that the slices of meat do not stick.

As soon as the bottom of the meat starts to brown slightly (about 2 minutes), we pour half the amount of the wine into the pan and we cover with the lid for 1-2 minutes.

We remove them and we repeat the whole procedure with the other half of the saltimboccas.

We add the remaining butter to the pan and with a ladle we dissolve the stack proteins of the bottom of the pan.

When the sauce is ready, we pour it over the saltimboccas and we serve decorating with the sage flowers.


Published in MEAT