Plating up the “jump in the mouth”

The other day I posted about the minestrone I prepared for a supper with a guest.

I was going to post the second course the next day, but realized that the next day, yesterday, was a Friday. Some idiot who hates decent food well-prepared and presented was sure to complain that he saw a picture of meat on the blog.

In any event, I made saltimboca alla romana.

My guest brought the veal, and I had some prosciutto obtained from the "big city".

Alas the veal had been frozen, so it needed a bit of care.  I wound up having to work pieces of it together as I pounded it out.  Thus it required some pinning together.  Since I only has big skewers and no toothpicks around, I had to cut off the ends.

For this you use veal, and leaves of sage, beneath the slices of prosciutto.

So, into the pan it goes.  You use butter and olive oil, a bit of salt and pepper.  Deglaze with a little white wine.

Green beans are common with this sort of meal and they are in season and abundant.  I steamed them.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Looks delicious Father!

    “Some idiot who hates decent food well-prepared and presented”

    I guess they would rather see you eat a Hobo Dinner…..A TOOTHPICK AND A GLASS OF WATER!

  2. semperficatholic: I had those days already, a long time ago. I prefer toothpicks only for saltimboca.

  3. Dan says:

    Dear Father,
    What is the difference betwixt prosciutto and speck.
    Just curious.
    God bless you, kind Rev.

  4. Jenny Z says:

    That looks delicious… I’ll put that on my list of things to attempt to cook. (I’m a beginner)

  5. Dan: I think speck is smoked.

  6. josephus muris saliensis says:

    Buon appetito, Don Giovanni! Such perfect catechesis to combine consideration of the liturgy with the finer things of life’s pleasures.

    Lovely copper pan, too!

    Don Giovanni is quite correct, prosciuto is Italian, and sweet and soft, speck is German, and much drier, saltier and slightly smoked. Indeed they perfectly reflect their national characteristics, as food so often does.

  7. Geoffrey says:

    Great post! Though I would have posted it on a Friday. Idiots will complain any day of the week!

    When do we get to see the wine that accompanied this excellent meal?

  8. mysticalrose says:

    Wow — now I’m hungry. Any chance you’d be willing to share the minestrone recipe, Fr Z?

  9. fortradition says:

    Good Father,
    Any thoughts about writing a cookbook? Those photos are too gorgeous for only a few of us to see. The meal is surely making my mouth water. Only speghetti for us here tonight :-(

  10. josephus muris saliensis says:

    Dear Fr Z, Having just amused myself googling “Sabine Farm” (it is a wet Saturday afternoon), I thought you might be pleased and amused to know that you come up at the top of the list, way ahead of poor Horace!

    Now that’s fame for you!

  11. John Enright says:

    Father, that looks great. For saltimboca, I’ve always cooked leafy spinach along with the veal in a marsala wine sauce (with a little flour to fatten the sauce) along with prosciutto and provolone with a touch of green bell peppers and a WHOLE lot of garlic. Yum. By the way, your minestrone looked fantastic; it could well serve as a meal in itself! Bon appetit, Padre!

  12. RJ says:

    Speck is smoked cured ham that is leaner and denser than bacon. Speck is brined in garlic, black pepper, juniper berries, and bay leaves, and then cold-smoked with sweet-scented maple and beechwood shavings. The pieces of meat are aged for several months. Speck is less pungent than pancetta and more flavorful than prosciutto. It’s usually served in thin slices. The name “speck” comes from the German word for bacon, but bacon lovers do not always appreciate the flavor. It’s very popular in Germany, Austria, and Alto Adige in Northern Italy.

  13. Howard says:

    Talking about speck, pancetta, and prosciutto, I’d just like to be reassured that the cooking process kills off any latent trichinosis. Don’t just tell me the disease is rare in the developed world.

  14. rcesq says:

    Father, you can skip the toothpick business altogether if you roll up the veal scallops, dip them in an egg or milk wash, lightly flour them and then saute them as paupiettes. Bon appetit!

  15. ckdexterhaven says:

    Fr. Z,

    You’re the next macGyver! Impressive use of the tools that you had on hand!

  16. Howard says:

    I meant “curing process”, not “cooking process”.

  17. Maureen says:

    Brining, soaking in honey or sugar, and other curing processes both kill off all sorts of critters and make the meat permanently inhospitable to new critters. Of course, if people don’t do this stuff thoroughly, there’s a problem, and not just with Mr. Trichinosis. Indeed, you’d undoubtedly find out about Mr. Bacterium a lot sooner!

    But the FDA feels that controlled commercial plants do a pretty thorough job of killing off Mr. Trichinosis. Presumably, anybody doing this stuff at home who knows what he’s doing is likewise safe.

    My personal feeling is that, since I’ve eaten Easter ham every year since I could eat solids, it’s a bit late to worry!

  18. Father,

    I like to cook and I love proscuitto and veal.

    However, forgive my ignorance here….

    Do you only fry one side of that?

    You may laugh.

  19. I noticed you’re using a stainless steel pan (at least it doesn’t look like aluminum or coated).

    Is this your preference?

    I’m considering getting away from non-stick pans. I just wondered if food sticks.

    Also, what kind of oil do you use. I love olive oil, but the smoke point is too low. I’m ok with Canola oil, but wondered if there are other oils that are healhy, but have higher smoke points.

  20. Diane: I prefer my coated cast iron. But this is my biggest pan.

    I do like it, however. It has layers of copper in the bottom to distribute heat and it cleans very easily.

  21. James says:

    I do also prefer the copper bottom. With this sort of dish, I would also use cold first press extra virgin olive oil. You will want to get your pan to the smoke point when you put your veal in. The veal will cool the oil to the point where it won’t burn. Plus it will create nice little bits for when you deglaze your pan.

    Fr. Z, I didn’t notice if you floured your veal first. Something I would do to make a nice pan sauce after your done cooking your scallopine. Also, add just a touch of butter to the sauce. Don’t bother using any egg wash, or anything of the sort, save it for your milanese or your parmagiano dishes. True Romano meat dishes wouldn’t use an egg wash.

    Scallopine alla romana is truly wonderful dish.


  22. Guy the Idiot says:

    \”was a Friday. Some idiot…… was sure to complain that he saw a picture of meat on the blog.\”

    Certainly not I!
    I am well aware that most Latin Rite folk abstain only on the days absolutely required. Worry not mon pere! It takes much more than that to scandalize this idiot.

    Pax et bonum!

  23. Rob says:

    I must tell you my wife and I were inspired by your account and photos and took a shot at the recipe ourselves last night.

    It went pretty well. I had to go to three markets to find the right veal, but that’s okay. I also found some pretty good prosciutto, probably the best I’ve had since I left Jersey City. I had the foresight to know our spice ract was a little depleted when I went to the market, but had a brain cramp that ended up with me buying parsley instead of sage. I ended up using the parsley in the pan and a little thyme on the veal, and cooking the spinach first as a side – using a little spinach between the veal and prosciutto. A small pot of pasta completed the ensemble.

    It was good to cook a nice meal again. We minamalize cooking in summer to avoid overheating the house. Our schedule has been getting busy, though, as many activities pick up again in fall. We get to a point where we’re sick of eating out, takeout, and improvised suppers. I had the motivation and the time yesterday to shop and cook, and we both had the time to savor a family meal.

    Best of all, we made enough for two nights! Our dinners are usually the most savory the second day, and will be the perfect thing, as my wife has a church meeting later this evening.

  24. Rob: Great! Thanks for that! Buon appetito!

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