Saltimbocca, Italian for ‘jump into the mouth’, is one of the great dishes of the world, a thin veal escalope flavoured with sage and wrapped in Parma ham before being briefly pan-fried. Serve with boiled new potatoes. Use a potato peeler to shave off a few curls of Parmesan and scatter them over the potatoes together with a few snipped chives.
Beat the escalopes out gently to a uniform thickness of 3 mm / ⅛ inch, using a cutlet bat, rolling pin or child’s wooden hammer. Season with pepper, put a sage leaf on top then wrap a thin sheet of Parma ham round, roll up and beat softly so it adheres to the veal.
Put the olive oil in a small pan, add the garlic and stew it over a low heat for 10 minutes. Pass half through a sieve into a frying pan, discarding the garlic.
Over a high heat, fry 4 of the saltimbocca for 1 minute on each side, then transfer them to a warmed plate. Add the remaining garlic-infused oil and fry the second batch in the same way.
Deglaze the pan with the red wine, swirling in the butter and bubbling down to a syrupy residue. Spoon this over the saltimbocca and serve.
© 1998 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.