“Veal escalopes alla Romana” by Artusi
Saltimbocca alla romana

    • Prep Time
    • Minutes
    • Cook Time
    • Minutes

Veal roman escalopes with Parma Ham and sage - the Ingredients

Total Cost: UK/£ 8,64*

Cost/portion: UK/£ 2,16*

Saltimbocca: another classic of Italian cooking, straight form the book of Pellegrino Artusi

Saltimbocca alla Romana: they are just as famous as carbonara. Their origin isn’t as certain as the name might suggest: although it has become a classic of the roman cooking tradition, some say it has its origins in Brescia, a beautiful city  set between the lakes Garda and Iseo.

Mr Artusi, in his  book, starts the recipe saying:

“I have eaten them in Rome, at Le Venete trattoria, therefore I shall accurately describe them […]”

So we know for sure that by the end of the 19th century, the dish was made in one of the historical restaurants in Rome. Soon, it became part of the roman heritage.

Old tricks, modern hints and a personal touch

The recipe is very short: after all, as you will see, it is very simple. and because of its colloquial style, it is not clear when Artusi wants us to season the meat. I suggest to season it after cooking, or at least as soon as the meat gets sealed by the hot butter: if added on the raw meat, the salt would extract the water from the veal making it hard and gristly.

For tenderizing the cutlets, which should be half a finger thick”, he suggests to wet them with water first: this would avoid the bashed broken tissue to adhere to the meat hummer. Although if not dried properly, the addition of water to the hot butter would not seal the meat immediately, and the veal would harden. Putting the meat in-between a cooking paper sheet would do the work.

Finally, I would add a slightly tangy note to the dish deglazing the pan’s bottom with 2 tbs of red wine vinegar, which will help to “clean the palate” from the fats. Mr Artusi doesn’t say anything about it, so it’s just a personal interpretation or the recipe.

Note for the users: please click on the label “HOW TO” to watch the slide-show of each cooking step.

* Please note that both total cost and cost per portion are approximate and that can vary according to seasons and to different conditions.

Recipe Rating

  • (1 Rating)

Ingredients

  • Veal escalopes - 4 (about 80gr each and almost 1cm thick)

  • Parma Ham - 8 slices (about 100gr)

  • Sage - one spring (optional)

  • Sage - 8 large leaves (8x3cm - 3x1 inches)

  • Butter - 80gr

  • Salt - to taste

  • Black pepper corns - to taste

  • Optional ingredients

  • Butter - 20gr

  • Red vinegar - 2 tbs

  • Utensils

  • 8 cocktail sticks

  • One sharp chef knife

  • One Chopping board

  • One cooking paper sheet

  • One heavy duty meat tenderiser

  • One pestle and mortar

  • Optional utensils

  • One wooden spoon or spatula

  • One sieve

  • One small bowl

Instructions

  • 1.
    Melting the butter for frying and tenderising the veal

    • Black pepper corns - to taste
    • Butter - 80gr
    • Sage - one spring (optional)
    • Veal escalopes - 4 (about 80gr each and almost 1cm thick)
    • One sharp chef knife
    • One Chopping board
    • One heavy duty meat tenderiser
    • One pestle and mortar

      With the pestle and mortar, finely crush the black pepper corns.
      Put the large frying pan on a low heat with the butter and the sprig of sage (optional) and let it melt slowly (step 1 - pic. A).
      Meanwhile, tenderise the veal escalopes: put them in between a cooking paper sheet and bash them. Do not bash them too hard, just make them about 3 to 4mm thick (step 1 - pic. B).
      Then, cut them in half crosswise for better matching the length of the sage leaves.

  • 2.
    Piercing the veal, ham and sage with a cocktail stick

    • The cut veal escalopes
    • Parma Ham - 8 slices (about 100gr)
    • Sage - 8 large leaves (8x3cm - 3x1 inches)
    • 8 cocktail sticks

      Fold each slice of Parma Ham to match the dimensions of escalopes.
      Then, put the ham on top of the veal and the sage on top of the ham, right in the centre of the cutlet. Pierce them together with a cocktail stick (step 2 - pic).
      Congratulations: you have made your first Saltimbocca!
      Set them aside.

  • 3.
    Frying the saltimbocca in the hot melted butter

    • The hot melted butter in the frying pan
    • The Saltimbocca
    • Salt - to taste
    • The ground black pepper

      Set the heat on a medium high power.
      As soon as the butter starts foaming (step 3 - pic. A), put in the Saltimbocca with the sage side facing down.
      Let it cook for only 30 to 45 seconds: a longer cooking would make the ham too crispy and loose too much liquids; it would taste also too salty (step 3 - pic. B).
      Turn the Saltimbocca over and keep cooking it for another 45 to 60 seconds to have them medium-rare or medium (step 3 - pic. C). Cook them for another 30 seconds to have them medium-well. Do not overcook them or the veal will dry completely. Please note that timing depends on how thick the escalopes are after you have tenderised them.
      Season to taste with black pepper and salt.
      Artusi serves them like this: hot and with the melted butter drizzled on top.
      I suggest deglazing the bottom of the frying pan, so as to make a nice sauce with it.

  • 4.
    Deglazing the pan with vinegar and butter (optional

    • The melted butter and juices in the frying pan
    • Butter - 20gr
    • Red vinegar - 2 tbs
    • One wooden spoon or spatula
    • One sieve
    • One small bowl

      Take out all the saltimbocca. Set the heat to maximum and immediately add the vinegar (step 4 - pic. A). Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan.
      Take the pan away from the heat and let it chill for half a minute. Then, add the 20gr of butter and melt completely (step 4 - pic. B).
      Filter the sauce through a sieve into a small bowl (step 4 - pic. C) and drizzle it on top of the saltimbocca when serving.

Instructions

  • 1.
    Melting the butter for frying and tenderising the veal

    • Black pepper corns - to taste
    • Butter - 80gr
    • Sage - one spring (optional)
    • Veal escalopes - 4 (about 80gr each and almost 1cm thick)
    • One sharp chef knife
    • One Chopping board
    • One heavy duty meat tenderiser
    • One pestle and mortar

      With the pestle and mortar, finely crush the black pepper corns.
      Put the large frying pan on a low heat with the butter and the sprig of sage (optional) and let it melt slowly (step 1 - pic. A).
      Meanwhile, tenderise the veal escalopes: put them in between a cooking paper sheet and bash them. Do not bash them too hard, just make them about 3 to 4mm thick (step 1 - pic. B).
      Then, cut them in half crosswise for better matching the length of the sage leaves.

  • 2.
    Piercing the veal, ham and sage with a cocktail stick

    • The cut veal escalopes
    • Parma Ham - 8 slices (about 100gr)
    • Sage - 8 large leaves (8x3cm - 3x1 inches)
    • 8 cocktail sticks

      Fold each slice of Parma Ham to match the dimensions of escalopes.
      Then, put the ham on top of the veal and the sage on top of the ham, right in the centre of the cutlet. Pierce them together with a cocktail stick (step 2 - pic).
      Congratulations: you have made your first Saltimbocca!
      Set them aside.

  • 3.
    Frying the saltimbocca in the hot melted butter

    • The hot melted butter in the frying pan
    • The Saltimbocca
    • Salt - to taste
    • The ground black pepper

      Set the heat on a medium high power.
      As soon as the butter starts foaming (step 3 - pic. A), put in the Saltimbocca with the sage side facing down.
      Let it cook for only 30 to 45 seconds: a longer cooking would make the ham too crispy and loose too much liquids; it would taste also too salty (step 3 - pic. B).
      Turn the Saltimbocca over and keep cooking it for another 45 to 60 seconds to have them medium-rare or medium (step 3 - pic. C). Cook them for another 30 seconds to have them medium-well. Do not overcook them or the veal will dry completely. Please note that timing depends on how thick the escalopes are after you have tenderised them.
      Season to taste with black pepper and salt.
      Artusi serves them like this: hot and with the melted butter drizzled on top.
      I suggest deglazing the bottom of the frying pan, so as to make a nice sauce with it.

  • 4.
    Deglazing the pan with vinegar and butter (optional

    • The melted butter and juices in the frying pan
    • Butter - 20gr
    • Red vinegar - 2 tbs
    • One wooden spoon or spatula
    • One sieve
    • One small bowl

      Take out all the saltimbocca. Set the heat to maximum and immediately add the vinegar (step 4 - pic. A). Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan.
      Take the pan away from the heat and let it chill for half a minute. Then, add the 20gr of butter and melt completely (step 4 - pic. B).
      Filter the sauce through a sieve into a small bowl (step 4 - pic. C) and drizzle it on top of the saltimbocca when serving.

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