Saltimbocca, the Famous Roman Meat Dish
Saltimbocca alla Romana is one of the most famous meat-based dishes from Roman local cuisine. These tender, pan-fried veal escalopes are flavored with prosciutto and sage and, quite literally, leap from the plate to your mouth. In our latest video, follow Foodies Sisters Valeria and Benedetta as they sample this delicious local recipe and discuss its origins and preparation.
‘Saltimbocca’ translates into English as ‘jump in the mouth’ and refers to these morsels of tasty meat that are simply yearning to be devoured. Although variations of saltimbocca are found regionally throughout Italy and also abroad, the traditional Roman version is usually made with tenderized veal pieces topped with a slice of prosciutto and a fresh sage leaf before being quickly fried in butter until the sage and prosciutto are crispy and the edges of the meat have caramelized. The result is a heady mix of melt-in-the-mouth veal, salty prosciutto, and aromatic sage, all wrapped up in a delicious buttery sauce.
The simplicity of the recipe and the speed in which it cooks make saltimbocca the ideal dish for a quick meal. Some people prefer to roll up the saltimbocca into ‘involtini’ before cooking although this requires a longer frying time and creates a thicker texture to the dish. Elsewhere you might find the same preparation but using pork or chicken as an alternative to veal. The important thing is to add white wine or water to the pan to create a luscious sauce and keep the saltimbocca moist and tender. They are best served hot from the pan with potatoes or vegetables, and with plenty of bread to mop up the divine juices.