Pork saltimbocca alla romano.
The photos aren't pretty (it was too dark) but this is a really really delicious dish! I can't believe I've lived this long and never eaten saltimbocca even though Italian food is one of my top 3 cuisines.
Yi brought some prociutto/parma ham back from Melbourne and they turned out very salty and the flavor was too heavy for my taste. Good prociutto should be smooth, delicately flavored, almost having a floral scent and not 'dead' salty. That's prociutto according to me but then I've never been to Italy. Talking of which, my fav prociutto is not from Italy but from Spain. It doesn't have to be jambon Iberico (which is really NOT over-rated; it really is great) but any serrano ham's excellent, I've found. Anyway, I checked the price label and sure enough, it had a Safeway logo. Never buy your ham from supermarkets, I've often told my kids. The regular sandwich ham is fine but for anything else, you must hit the delis. I love these delis in Melbourne and Brisbane.
Wey found that the Safeway prociutto tasted better cooked and we had some on a caesar salad but there was plenty more to go. Then I remembered a cookbook, Rome: Authentic Recipes Celebrating The Foods Of The World by Maureen B. Fant, which had a recipe for a prociutto-lined veal called saltimbocca alla romana, a Roman specialty. The prociutto flavored the meat with its saltiness and savory sweetness while the sage, butter and wine combination gave the meat a most wonderful flavor and aroma, so Italian I imagined I was somewhere in Tuscany. This is a perfect way to use up prociutto that's not good enough for eating plain. This dish is so simple to cook that NO ONE can go wrong with it.
Since veal can hardly be found here, I settled for pork loin. You can use a beef tenderloin or chicken too if pork is not your meat. I can see myself serving this as an appetiser next time I have a dinner party. I can see the saltimbocca rolled and cut, topped with a cube of crusty bread toasted in olive oil and garlic, elegantly served as canapes with toothpicks holding them together. And to cut the saltiness, some cubes of rock melon too. Ohhh. With a white wine and my family's high approval of the dish last night, I really felt la dolce vita, except for a little pain in my heart.
12 pieces meat escalopes of your choice
8-10 (more if your escalopes are large pieces) thinly sliced prociutto
12 or more fresh sage leaves
freshly ground black pepper
about 4 T plain flour
2 T unsalted butter
4 oz dry white wine
1. Slice the meat into thin pieces of 1/4" or 1/2 cm thick and pound it with a meat mallet to tenderize.
2. Lay a piece of prociutto over the meat, trim to size with scissors and lay a piece or two of sage leaves on top of the prociutto, securing with a wooden toothpick. The leftover cut pieces of procuitto can be used the same way, just patch them together on the meat.
3. When ready to cook, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan. Lightly coat the pieces of meat all over with the flour, shake off excess, and place 6 pieces of escalopes prociutto side down into the buttered pan. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, then turn over to cook another 4-5 minutes at low heat. You can grind some black pepper over now or later when the meat's on the plate. There's really no need to salt the meat because the prociutto will be salty enough. Remove the cooked saltimbocca onto a serving plate. Repeat with remaining escalopes.
4. Add the wine to the pan, increase the heat to medium high and deglaze the pan by loosening the brown bits with a ladle. Let the liquid evaporate into half the original amount and drizzle (because there's not much) it over the saltimbocca.
I served them with golden olive oil roasted potatoes but bread is good too.
Update: Lunchguy, a chef based in Bangkok,has some invaluable tips for cooking this dish. The prociutto can be sandwiched between two slices of meat (pls refer to comments for details) and he suggests seedless white grapes as garnishing, a perfect choice. I love!