I set out to make another recipe from the fabulous Beyond Bacon this week, Maple Sage Roasted Butternut Squash, and found myself staring at a handful of leftover fresh sage. Now what’s a girl to do with that… *think… think… SALTIMBOCCA! I could have slammed my head against the counter for not thinking to make this recipe sooner! It is hands-down one of my all time favorite recipes, Paleo or otherwise.
Saltimbocca translates to “jumps in the mouth” in Italian. If that doesn’t tell you it’s good, I don’t know what will! I favor recipes that require only a few ingredients and still manage to yield complex flavor. Saltimbocca does just that.
Traditionally, it’s given a light dredge in flour prior to cooking to help crust the meat. It looks nicer that way and gives the texture a boost. For the Paleo version, we’ll obviously skip that step. After making this, I see there’s really no need for it anyhow.
Saltimbocca is a simple dish made by layering thinly sliced veal with fresh sage and prosciutto. It can either be prepared “involtini-style” (which is rolled up) or just left flat. I’ve done both in the past and don’t have a preference—they both taste the same. However, if you wanted a creative appetizer you could make this involtini-style, slice into pinwheels and serve with a toothpick in it. That’ll get your guests’ mouths jumping!
This is sooooo good!
6 thin slices of veal
1 package of prosciutto
fresh sage, about 14 leaves worth
1-2 cloves garlic
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup organic chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 TBSP lard for cooking (substitute olive oil, if needed)
First, mince the garlic clove(s) and chiffonade the sage leaves. Set aside.
Cover the seasoned veal with a single layer of prosciutto, using as many slices as you need to cover the width of the meat. Pin the prosciutto to the veal using a couple of toothpicks per piece. (Note that if you are rolling these, just use a toothpick or two to secure the roll instead.)
Heat a skillet or sauté pan to medium-high heat and melt the lard. Place the saltimbocca in the pan prosciutto-side down to sear. Do not move the meat around at this point. The prosciutto needs to bind to the veal. Season the side that’s facing you with a little black pepper and maybe a small pinch of kosher or Celtic sea salt. Oh and open your wine… maybe have a glass while you wait?
Once the prosciutto has caramelized a bit (e.g. it’s brown now, not too crunchy though), carefully turn the saltimbocca over. Brown this side the same way. It should only take a couple minutes… we don’t want to dry the veal out too much.
You will likely have to work in batches since I don’t know how many of us have pans that can fit 6 of these at one time. Just set the cooked ones aside, add some more lard (or olive oil) and repeat the same instructions. When all the cooking’s done, move to the next step.
In the same pan, add the minced garlic and reserved fresh sage. Sauté for just a bit in the remaining fat. Add the 1 cup of white wine and 1/2 cup of chicken stock at simmer at the same temperature so the liquid can reduce.
**Now, some of you might be questioning the Paleo-ness of white wine. Rightfully so. It’s very sugary and won’t be right for everyone. I’m in this lifestyle for the long-haul and don’t often freak out about things like this. I mean, one cup that’s getting reduced for a pan sauce of which only a couple tablespoons will be served on my plate? I’m ok with that. If you have to be careful about your sugar on all fronts, then substitute additional stock for the wine. Don’t mess with your health.**
When the pan sauce has reduced by at least half, spoon the broth (and as much of the minced garlic as you’d like) over your saltimbocca. Serve right away… and I might suggest serving it with that Maple Sage Roasted Butternut Squash. That was really tasty!