Eating Well is the Best Revenge!
At Casa Vieja Restaurant, Saltimboca was one of our stellar Northern Italian specialties. We used the best aged filet mignon, which we trimmed ourselves, and good imported Mozzarella and Proscuitto. Bob and I did the "prep", and Lucy Martinez cooked the Saltimboca to order. Saltimboca was one of our best selling entrees on a very, very good menu.
Saltimboca is one of those nice dishes that can be prepared down to the last few minutes of cooking time and will refrigerate well for a day. The final cooking is done quickly, has flaming wine and exquisite smells, and can be done with great showmanship. Saltimboca is a natural for tableside preparation in a chafing dish, or to impress the occasional friend at the stove.
Saltimboca- The Ingredients
- The Steak: We used well aged beef filet, cut in 4 oz slices and pounded thin. Saltimboca is also good with other tender beef cuts, veal escalopes, thin slices from tender cuts of various game animals, or other thin sliced tender meats. The meat should be cut in slices of about 4 ounces each and pounded out gently until thin. Use a meat hammer or the side of a Coke bottle. Try for a roughly square shape, about four or five inches on a side. Store the meat between pieces of wax paper, it will keep for a day.
Proscuitto: You have to use real Proscuitto, and it probably should be from Italy, though there are a couple decent ones made over here. The ones over here are also made by Italians of course, Viva Los Italianos. Proscuitto must be sliced by the seller, and must be sliced very thin. You should almost be able to read through a proper slice of Proscuitto.
You will need a slice or a bit more for each Saltimboca, and since the dealer has already set up his slicer so carefully, get a few more slices. The whole package should be no more than a couple ounces or so, Proscuitto is concentrated and flavorful stuff. While you are around the store, also get a nice ripe melon. Wrap the extra slices of Procuitto around slices of the ripe melon for a classic first course appetizer.
Mozzarella Cheese: Real Mozzarella is made in Italy from the milk of buffalo. The mozzarella made here in the US from cow's milk is quite excellent. Check out both to see which you like best. Slice the Mozzarella about an eighth of an inch thick.
Prepare the Saltimbocas
Lay out the thin slices of pounded meat, and try to get a squarish shape. Cover each one with a single layer of the thin sliced Proscuitto. Put a layer of Mozzarella on the Proscuitto, leaving about a half inch margin all around. Roll up the meat slices like a jelly roll, tucking in the ends to make a nice neat little package. Tie around in three or four places with light string so they will hold together while cooking. Put the Saltimboca on a plate, cover, and refrigerate until just before cooking. They will keep a day or so.
Cook the Saltimboca
Lightly flour the Saltimboca. Take a nice heavy frying pan and heat:
a couple Tbl good butter, until sizzling.
Add the Saltimboca and toss around until hot and nicely browned. Warm in a ladle:
- 1/4 cup real Italian Dry Marsala for each Sasltimboca you are cooking
Add to the pan, and flame. When flames go out, add:
- 2 Tbl Butter. Swirl until butter is melted and has foamed. Serve.
Saltimboca should be served with linguini with olive oil or butter, and parsely, and possibly a touch of wild mushroom. Also a good crusty bread, a green salad, and a dry light red Italian wine.
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