Veal Saltimbocca is certainly one of my favourite dishes. It's an Italian dish, and you can guarantee if I see it on a menu in a restaurant, I will more than likely order it. If you've never heard of it before, it's basically veal escalopes (thinly-sliced) wrapped in sage and Parma ham in a marsala sauce (fortified wine).
It's a very simple dish, but when executed well, it has a very unique and distinctive taste.
Many people are reluctant to eat veal, because of ideas of animal cruelty. However, unless you are a vegetarian and are happy to eat beef, lamb or intensively-reared chicken, your fears are probably unfounded. Veal crates are now illegal, and most calves are slaughtered between 6 and 12 months, and are indeed older than lambs are when they are slaughtered. Some are slaughtered at birth. If you go to a good butcher, he can tell you where it is sourced, if it's free-range and what diet it's fed on.
Veal should be pinker in appearance than beef (when raw) and is lighter and very tender.
4 thin escalopes of veal
Several fresh sage leaves
Approx 250mls of Marsala (Italian fortified wine) or any good fortified wine. Failing that, 250mls of a good white wine (don't use your best expensive stuff, but don't use anything you wouldn't want to drink, either. You get out what you put in.) Marsala is best, and you don't get the same intense flavour with white wine.
4 slices of Parma (or serreno) ham (or one slice per escalope of veal)
A little oil (rapseed or olive oil)
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper.
Cocktail sticks/small skewers
(1) Lay out of piece of parma ham on a bread board.
(2) Place one veal escalope on top, and sprinkle several pieces of chopped sage on top. (You probably want more than is pictured, as when I made this one, I felt it needed a little more sage).
(3) Wrap the Parma ham around the veal, and secure with cocktail sticks/skewers
(4) Heat a non-stick frying pan to a medium-high heat. Dust each escalope in seasoned flour and dust off the excess. Melt a good blob of butter and a little of the oil in the pan. Don't over-crowd the pan, fry two of the escalopes at a time for about 2/3 mins a side. The meat is not intended to be cooked pink for this recipe.
Whilst the second batch of escalopes are cooking, keep the first batch warm in a slightly warmed oven.
(5) Remove the escalopes from the pan/oven, set aside to allow the meat to rest.
(6) Pour the Marsala (or the fortified wine or white wine) into the pan, and bring to the boil, scrapping all the goodness from the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to cook off for about 10 seconds or so and add the lemon juice. Turn the heat down and cook further for about a minute or so, and season a little. Remove the skewers from the meat and serve.
Wine recommendations to drink with Saltimbocca: A strong red would possibly overwhelm this dish's complex flavours. A good white Burgandy(Chardonnay) or a lighter red, such as a Burgandy (pinot noir) would work well. Or a more complex white, such as a Viognier or such would also be a nice accompaniment.