Saltimbocca à la romaine


Rolled veal and proscuitto ‘acrobats’

I started making this dish many years ago thanks to a wonderful cookbook I bought in Rome, Roma in Bocca by Antonella Santolini. Since then I’ve modified it slightly – you could say I’ve ‘Frenchified’ it – but it remains essentially the same dish. For best results, have your butcher cut thin veal scallops (slices) and then pound them flat. Be sure to have some toothpicks on hand to hold the rolled meat in place.

2 large or 4 medium veal scallops
2 large or 4 medium slices of prosciutto or another dry-cured ham
1 large clove garlic
2 leafy sprigs of fresh basil or fresh sage
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup dry wine, white or rosé, or 1 cup homemade chicken broth
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper

Lay the veal scallops out flat on a board. Place a slice of proscuitto over each slice of veal – it doesn’t matter if the sizes don’t match exactly.

Peel and mince the garlic. Scatter it over the slices.

Place 2 or 3 large leaves of the herbs over the slices.

With your toothpicks at the ready, roll each slice up tightly beginning from the narrowest end of the veal. Secure each roll with 2-3 toothpicks. Slice vertically between the toothpicks to make individual rolls, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide.

Heat the olive oil to sizzling in a large frying pan. If the oil doesn’t cover the bottom of the pan, add a little more.

Brown the veal rolls on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the wine or broth. Add the salt and grind in some black pepper. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes more.

Transfer the veal rolls to a cutting board and slice through them vertically once or twice to make smaller rolls, about 1/3 inch (1 cm) thick.

Put the pan with the sauce back on the heat and reduce slightly to thicken.

Serve the veal on individual plates, accompanied with pasta or a small arugula and tomato salad. Drizzle the sauce over the meat. Serves 2.

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