saltimbocca revisited with Umbrian ingredients
PORK SALTIMBOCCA WITH VINSANTO. The Italian word saltimbocca means “to jump in the mouth”. This is because the meat is cooked so quickly that it will be on your plate after only a couple of pirouettes in the pan. To cook it with the right speed you will need very thin meat. The result is melt-in-the-mouth parcels that make what must be the world’s easiest dinner.
There’s endless variations of this recipe. To keep to the deservedly famous original however, please do not overdo. Keep to a minimum of oil and butter.
Use no more than one sage leaf per parcel, that’s more than enough flavor. You can substitute pork with veal but you’ll never get chicken thin enough. You can substitute Vinsanto with Marsala or white wine but not with lemon juice.
You can substitute guanciale with pancetta, but the guanciale is sublime. There’s no garlic and no tomato (for once). And please, please, please, don’t melt cheese over it!
- 500 gr / 1 pound pork scaloppine, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
- 1/4 pound thinly sliced guanciale
- flour for dusting
- 1 bunch fresh sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon butter and 1 olive oil
- 1/2 cup Vinsanto
Top each slice of meat with 1 slice of guanciale and 1 sage leaf. Fold in two, keeping the guanciale and sage inside, and secure with a small cocktail stick. Dust each parcel lightly with flour (can be also done with gluten-free flour or rice flour ).
Put a large cast iron skillet over high heat until hot. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in it until foaming. Add oil and pork parcels in single layer, turning once or twice until golden about 1 min per side. Season with salt and black pepper.
Add wine to pan and deglaze over high heat until liquid is reduced by 1/3, scraping up browned bits, about 2 minutes. Be careful as it might flambe’. Transfer pork to platter, pour the sauce over it, and serve with potatoes cooked in a salt crust and a green salad.
a succulent roast flavored with thyme, lemon and garlic
“RESTED” THYME AND GARLIC ROAST BEEF. This is definitely not a traditional Italian recipe. However, the resulting flavor is deeply Mediterranean without the effort of the slow cooking and basting endured by our mothers. The concept of the roast is that you must cook the meat briefly on high heat. Then cover and let it rest in a draft free area of your kitchen. This way the indirect heat of the pan cooks it some more but keeps it wonderfully tender.
- 1 kg/2 pounds topside or silver side lean beef
- 6 garlic cloves
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- white wine
- extra virgin olive oil
Bring the beef at room temperature. Preheat oven at 220 °C/430 °F.
To prepare the dressing, remove leaves of 4 thyme sprigs and place them in a bowl with the lemon juice, 3 tablespoon olive oil, 1 clove of finely minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a cast iron casserole pan over medium-high heat and when hot add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the meat and brown it evenly, turning every few minutes. This step will take about 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the roast. Keep the pan covered so you do not mess up the stove!
When the roast is well browned on all sides add 5 unpeeled garlic cloves, 2 thyme sprigs and 1/2 cup white wine. Cover with a heavy lid and transfer into the preheated oven.
Roast for 30 min turning every 10 min adding more white wine if necessary. Remove from the oven and cover the meat quite tightly with foil and again with the lid. Let it rest for at least 15 min in a warm place then slice thinly and place the slices back into the pan. Squeeze the cooked garlic cloves out of their papery husks into the dressing. Drizzle the dressing over the meat and leave to infuse for 5-10 min. Transfer slices and juices on a pre-heated dish and serve. The meat will be only slightly warm.
This recipe can be made with either fresh rosemary or sage or dried oregano instead of thyme.