Tuscany Now & More joins Phoebe Ryan, chef and founder of The Edible Woman, as she shares a tantalising, flavourful recipe for Veal Saltimbocca. As a chef, Phoebe prioritises local, natural foods, prepared with honesty and love. “Though I am not vegetarian or vegan full-time, I think it’s really important to realise where our food comes from, and pay more to get the best – I would rather eat, as the farmers say, an animal who has had a wonderful life and then “one bad day”. We need to return to a place where meat is a feast, a celebration; a very special treat which we realise the significance of”.
This popular Roman recipe for Veal Saltimbocca — literally translates into ‘jump into the mouth’ in Italian — is made from veal, wrapped with sage and prosciutto, and marinated in wine and extra-virgin olive oil. In this recipe, Phoebe adds a twist to the classic Roman dish: a creamy side of Polenta. (N.B. This dish also pairs well with a glass of Tuscan wine). “Although you can cook saltimbocca with thin beef steaks, veal is so beautiful: as long as you are careful about your supplier and get rose veal or free-raised veal (the best, most caring slaughter process).
Veal Saltimbocca with Polenta
Serves 4 - Cook in 1 hour
- 4 veal escalopes
- 8 pieces of prosciutto (parma ham)
- 8 sage leaves
- 350ml marsala
- 40g butter
- 4 handfuls of rocket
- Salt and pepper
- 500g polenta
- 2l water
- 15g Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of salt
Begin by flattening your escalopes: place them between two sheets of clingfilm and use a large metal spoon or back of a small frying pan to bash them thinner. Lay each flattened escalope on 2 slices of prosciutto, and place 2 pieces of sage leaves in the centre. Begin to roll the escalope tightly with the prosciutto tight around the outside, and pin with a toothpick. Although this is not a necessary step, you can place the escalopes in the fridge for approximately 20–30 minutes. This allows them to settle and inhibits the rolls from unfurling as you fry, however before frying, remove from the fridge and bring them to room temperature.
Begin to prepare the polenta: bring 2 litres of water in a saucepan to simmer, add a tablespoon of salt and mix in the polenta. Continue to mix rigorously on high flame with a wooden spoon or spatula, adding olive oil to avoid the formation of lumps. Bring to boil, stirring continuously, and then reduce the flame to a minimum. Continue to cook for 40-50 minutes, taking care not to let it stick to the bottom.
Melt 20g of butter into a frying pan and cook the escalopes (removing the toothpicks) until well browned all over. Pour the marsala over and let this hubble-bubble for a few minutes, watching your marsala simmer down to a reduced, thickened sauce. Slice the escalopes into four or five and place them delicately on top of the polenta you have spooned into a bowl or plate. Add a handful of rocket for a peppery, biting contrast to the sweet, salty richness on the plate, and don’t forget to spoon over your reduced marsala sauce. Buon Appetito!