Saltimbocca (from the Italian “jumps in the mouth”) is a dish popular in southern Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Greece made of veal lined or topped with prosciutto and sage; marinated in wine, oil or saltwater depending on the region or one’s own taste. My version of this dish uses pork fillet, which I believe gives a much nicer dish.
400g Pork fillet / tenderloin in one piece
6 Parma ham slices
150ml Marsala wine
12 Sage leaves
Salt and black pepper
Preparation and cooking
First prepare the pork fillet by removing any skin, membrane or sinew from the tenderloin. Then cut the meat into 4-6 pieces (depending upon the size of the tenderloin) so that you have rounds of meat approx. 5-6 cms thick. Place each piece of meat between a top and bottom layer of clingfilm, and then bash with a rolling pin until the meat is flattened to about 5-10mm thick. Repeat for each of the pieces of pork. Lightly season each piece with salt and pepper.
Place 1 large sage leaf in the middle of each piece of meat, and then wrap with 1 slice of Parma ham, and do the same for the other pork slices. The sage and Parma should stay in place, but you can use a cocktail stick to secure if you like.
In a large frying pan, melt half the butter over a high heat, then fry the pork for 4-5 minutes on each side, starting with the side containing the sage leaf. The Parma ham should be a wonderful golden colour. If necessary, fry the pork in batches so that the pan is not overcrowded. Remove and reserve the pork to a warmed serving dish whilst you make the sauce.
With the juices left in the pan from the frying, add the remaining butter. Finely chop the sage leaves, adding to the pan and cook over a medium heat for 1 minute. Now add the Marsala wine, stir everything together and then reduce the liquid by half, which will probably take around 6-8 minutes. Taste and season with a little salt and pepper, and then pour over the fried pork and Parma ham parcels.
This dish also works really well with turkey and chicken escalopes. I have tried the traditional veal version, but I often find that the veal can be quite tough relative to the pork version.