Saltimbocca, which means “to jump in the mouth,” is a familiar dish from the city of Rome that combines salty and savory elements for a little flavor explosion. Tender, thin veal cutlets are the perfect foundation for the savory layers of crushed garlic and sage, paper-thin prosciutto and rich, fresh mozzarella cheese. A dry Pinot Grigio or Orvieto Bianco are perfect pairings for this deliciously easy-to-prepare dish.
8 thin veal cutlets
1/3 cup flour
freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
8 sage leaves, for garnish
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 thin slices of prosciutto, trimmed to fit size of cutlets
8 thin slices of fresh mozzerella, trimmed to fit size of cutlets
3/4 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Orvieto Bianco
Large sauté pan
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Inspect the veal cutlets to be sure they are of even thickness. If not, place them between two sheets of plastic wrap and lightly pound them with a meat mallet until they are about 1/8” to ¼” thick. Season the cutlets with salt and pepper and then dredge each cutlet in the flour. Shake off excess flour. Set aside.
Mix the chopped sage, garlic and a small bit of olive oil to make a paste.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt one tablespoon of the butter with the remaining olive oil. When the oil is hot and the butter foam subsides, add the veal cutlets, 2 or 3 at a time, and cook for 1 – 2 minutes until lightly brown on each side.
[Chef’s Note: It is very important that you watch the cutlets while they are cooking, as veal cooks very quickly.] As they are cooked, remove from the pan and place on a cookie sheet.
When all the cutlets are browned, sprinkle the sage and garlic mixture over each cutlet. Top each cutlet with a piece of prosciutto and then a piece of fresh mozzarella to cover completely. Tent a piece of aluminum foil over the cookie sheet, careful not to allow the foil to touch the cheese on the cutlets.
Place the cutlets in the oven for about 5 minutes. While they are cooking, add the wine to the hot sauté pan to deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits stuck on the bottom. Boil the wine until reduced to about ¼ cup. This should take about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to thicken.
[Chef’s Note: When a recipe calls for a quantity of fresh herbs chopped, such as this recipe, chop the herbs first, then measure to get the accurate amount of required herbs.]
Place two cutlets on each plate, drizzle with the wine and butter sauce and garnish with a sage leaf. Serve immediately.
Serve over rich, freshly made marinara sauce with a side of pasta. You can also use thin chicken or turkey cutlets in place of the veal in this recipe, if desired.
Recipe and photo by Lia Soscia