Most of us have encountered veal saltimbocca as one of the available entrées in better Italian restaurants. It is a fine entrée. But a lot of us also stopped eating veal due to cruel treatment of the calves before butchering. Instead, I learned a long time ago that good quality pork is superior to veal in every respect for meals of this type, as the pork remains moist and tender, even with somewhat more cooking time than necessary. Veal, on the other hand, can get dry and tough quickly if it is overcooked.
I decided to find Internet recipes for veal saltimbocca and bring together the best of the ingredient and procedure recommendations, and also use pork loin instead of veal. I got lucky the first time around combining the best of the four best recipes I found. In short, this recipe will make a fine dish for you to serve to those you love ... or even like! And it isn't complicated at all.
You can have fun making the pork saltimbocca and later get nice compliments from those who eat your kitchen cuisine! Peggy and I really enjoyed this entree, along with the meal accompaniments described below.
Ingredients: (Makes 3 to 4 servings)
1 1/2 pounds of thinly sliced (1/3 to 1/2 inch thick) lean pork loin, trimmed of any fat
1/4 pound of thinly sliced pieces of lean or fat trimmed prosciutto ham
4 large slices (5" diameter circles) of soft provolone cheese
1 red bell pepper, cleaned and sliced in long, thin 1/2" wide pieces (or equivalent pieces of roasted red peppers)
2 or 3 sprigs of fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of flour
4 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of dry or medium dry white wine (do not use a sweet wine)
1/2 cup of canned chicken broth
1 to 2 tbsp. of juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. of Sea Salt
1/4 tsp. of freshly and finely ground black pepper (or ground white pepper)
Long toothpicks to hold the pork rolls or stacks together, two per roll or stack, during cooking
Make all other meal items before making the pork saltimbocca, or at the same time if necessary.
We decided to make gnocchi with gorgonzola cheese sauce and steamed fresh asparagus as accompaniments to the pork saltimbocca. Thus, we did not start the steaming of the asparagus until the pork entrée was almost done, so the asparagus would be served in perfect condition at the perfect temperature at the beginning of the meal ... with butter melted over it. Recipes for both meal items are in Food Nirvana, but feel free to use your own imagination in choosing meal accompaniments.
We chilled a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio wine prior to dinner ... an excellent choice for this meal. We also used that type of wine as the wine called for in this pork saltimbocca recipe.
Set the oven to 180 degrees F and place all serving dishes or platters, dinner plates and any already prepared hot food dishes into the oven.
Clean and slice the red bell pepper or just slice the roasted red pepper pieces into long thin strips about 1/2" wide.
If you are using the raw red bell pepper then put the strips on a plate and microwave them on high for two minutes, then set them aside. If you use roasted red peppers they are already cooked and they need no further heating.
Use a kitchen mallet, knurled side, and a wood cutting board, and pound the pork pieces to a thickness of 1/8" to 1/4".
Season the pounded pork pieces lightly with the salt and the pepper.
Dust or dredge the pork pieces lightly on both sides with 1/4 cup of the flour.
Layer 1/2 of the pork pieces with 1 slice of the prosciutto ham, trimmed or folded to fit the shape of the pork piece.
Place a slice or cut pieces of the provolone cheese on top of the prosciutto ham for each pork piece.
Place 1 whole sage leaf (or more if the leaves are very small) on top of the provolone cheese.
Put two or three slices of the cooked sweet red pepper, or roasted red pepper slices, on top of the sage leaf.
Put a piece of pounded pork on top of each stack of pork and other ingredients.
If you pounded the pork thin enough you can roll up each stack and stick two toothpicks through the roll at different angles along the length to hold the rolled up saltimbocca pieces together during cooking.
If the pork stacks are too thick or too small to form a roll then simply use two toothpicks at nearly flat angles along the length of each pork stack to hold the contents together during cooking.
Heat a large, heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat and put in the olive oil and 2 tbsp. of the butter.
When the butter is melted and mixed with the olive oil and the mixture is hot, put the stacks or rolls of pork saltimbocca into the skillet. If the skillet is large enough all the pieces will fit in without being crowded. If the skillet isn't large enough to do that then cook the pork saltimbocca in two batches.
Brown the pork stacks on both sides (or all around if in roll form) in the hot oil and butter mixture, roughly two minutes per side, and one minute extra per side if the pork pieces were pounded to 1/4" thick instead of 1/8" thick.
Transfer the cooked pork saltimbocca pieces to the oven warmed platter, then repeat the cooking step, if necessary, with any uncooked pork saltimbocca pieces/rolls.
Remove the skillet from the heat.
Transfer the last of the cooked pork saltimbocca to the oven warmed platter, put the platter back into the warming oven and then return the skillet to the heat.
Add the remaining 2 tbsp. of butter to the skillet, stirring to help it melt and mix with the pan drippings.
Reduce the heat to medium low.
Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour to the skillet and use a whisk to mix the remaining oil and butter mixture with the flour to form a roux, while scraping pan drippings from the bottom of the skillet.
Add the wine, the lemon juice and the chicken broth to the skillet and use a spatula or the whisk to finish scraping up the pan drippings.
Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon or a whisk to blend the roux with the liquids and heat that mixture to a low boil on medium heat, until a thickened sauce forms.
Remove the skillet/sauce from the heat.
Ladle some of the sauce over the pork saltimbocca pieces and put the remainder of the sauce into a gravy boat for use at the table.
Serve the pork saltimbocca along with whatever other dishes you made for the meal. We made the gnocchi in gorgonzola cream sauce and steamed fresh asparagus. The combination was excellent.
The nice chilled glass of Pinot Grigio wine also was perfect with this meal.
If you happen to decide to make a salad instead of a cooked vegetable you might consider serving some nice fresh warmed Italian or French bread, with butter or Carrabba's® Dipping Oil (recipe also in Food Nirvana under Appetizers).
We didn't serve a dessert but a light, fruity gelato would be fine after this meal.
Life is fine ... Take the time to enjoy it!