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Veal Saltimbocca pairs well with variety of side dishes

Posted 2/22/05

HYDE PARK, N.Y. – Thin cutlets of tender veal make this Roman classic an elegant yet simple meal that can be prepared in minutes. Literally translated as "jumps in the mouth," saltimbocca bursts with the flavor of veal, sage, prosciutto, white …

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Veal Saltimbocca pairs well with variety of side dishes

Posted

HYDE PARK, N.Y. – Thin cutlets of tender veal make this Roman classic an elegant yet simple meal that can be prepared in minutes. Literally translated as "jumps in the mouth," saltimbocca bursts with the flavor of veal, sage, prosciutto, white wine and butter.

Choosing an accompaniment for this versatile dish is just as easy as its preparation. From pasta and polenta to potatoes, veal saltimbocca pairs well with a variety of side dishes.

Veal is considered one of the choicest meats available, known for its delicate flavor and fine texture. The texture of the veal in saltimbocca is enhanced by pounding each cutlet to a uniform thickness of about ¼ inch – place the cutlets between two pieces of plastic wrap to hold the meat and keep the preparation mess-free. Keep in mind that the thin portions of veal will cook quickly while sauteing.

Saltimbocca's rich and velvety sauce is made from the caramelized drippings, or fond, left in the pan after sauteing the cutlets. The technique for doing this is called deglazing: By adding a small portion of wine to the pan, and scraping the bottom to release the fond, every bit of flavor left in the pan is captured in the sauce. Once the pan is properly deglazed, the sauce is finished off with a generous amount of butter, salt, pepper and chopped parsley.

While saltimbocca is traditionally made with veal, experimenting with different varieties of meat adds diversity to this simple recipe. Chicken and pork, for example, blend well with sage and prosciutto.

Michael Skibitcky, lecturing instructor in culinary arts at The Culinary Institute of America, recommends fresh gnocchi in butter with a little chopped truffle or porcini as an ideal side to accompany this dish. Skibitcky also offers another side option: "I often place the hot saltimbocca directly on top of a lightly dressed arugula salad, as the greens barely wilt and release mouthwatering flavor."

This recipe is from The Culinary Institute of America's "Gourmet Meals in Minutes" cookbook (Lebhar-Freidman, 2004, $40).