Veal Saltimbocca Is Sure To Impress
What a ridiculously impressive meal! If you’ve never tried veal saltimbocca, prepare yourself.
Saltimbocca means “jump in the mouth.” It’s a way of saying that the dish is flavor packed. And trust us, this saltimbocca recipe will knock your socks off!
What is saltimbocca? Thinly cut (or pounded) veal cutlets are lovingly wrapped with a slice of prosciutto and sage, then pan seared until just cooked through. Using cutlets means a quick cook time (which we always like; leaves more time for drinking wine!). And then there’s the saltimbocca sauce. Oh my god, the sauce! Let’s just say you may want a piece of bread on standby to sop up every last drop.
You can roll them or lay the saltimbocca flat — we have a strong preference, and we’ll explain why below. Either way, this easy veal saltimbocca is luxurious to eat and loved by all.
Ingredients For Veal Saltimbocca
- Veal cutlets: You want the cutlets to be about ¼” thick. If needed, place a cutlet between two sheets of plastic wrap, then use a meat mallet to thinly pound out.
- All-purpose flour: Used to dredge the cutlets.
- Kosher salt: Lightly season the veal and the pan sauce. Remember, prosciutto is already quite salty!
- Freshly cracked black pepper: To season the veal.
- Prosciutto: We love Prosciutto di Parma, but there are many different types of prosciutto available, from Italian to domestic. Use what you can!
- Fresh sage leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Unsalted butter, chilled
- Marsala cooking wine — this forms the base of the crazy flavorful saltimbocca sauce! (It also is the most beautiful wine to cook with mushrooms!)
- Fresh parsley
- Lemon wedges
How To Make Veal Saltimbocca
But first, let’s chat about the origins of veal saltimbocca, aka Saltimbocca alla Romana. You’d think, given the name, that the dish was first created in Rome. According to some, it actually hails from Brescia, ~300 miles north of the capital. We’re just grateful it’s here, because it is so, so delicious!
Here’s how to make it:
- Dredge the veal: Place veal cutlets in a large Ziplock bag (or bowl), then add flour, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Seal, then shake (or stir) to thoroughly coat. Shake off excess flour, then transfer to a clean work surface.
- Wrap or secure prosciutto and sage onto cutlets: Place one piece of prosciutto on top of a veal cutlet. Add two sage leaves, then secure each leaf to the veal with 1 toothpick. Carefully turn the cutlet over, then place a second piece of prosciutto on the back. Secure with a third toothpick. Set aside and repeat with remaining cutlets.
Why not just wrap the veal cutlets with prosciutto?
You absolutely can! This is our selfish attempt to get as much crispy prosciutto on the cutlets as possible. We like placing one piece on each side of the veal, rather than wrapping one slice of prosciutto around, as that never seems to cover the majority of the cutlet.
How To Cook Veal Cutlets
To cook veal saltimbocca: Heat oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add two veal cutlets, sage side down. Cook 2 minutes, then carefully flip. Cook 1 minute more, until prosciutto is crispy and veal has reached an internal temperature of 145F. Transfer to a large plate, tent loosely with aluminum foil, then repeat with remaining veal cutlets.
It’s okay to remove the cutlets when they’re a few degrees lower, as the veal will continue to cook and rise in temperature while it rests.
We recommend the Thermapen MK4 to check for doneness on all meats!
How to make the veal saltimbocca pan sauce: Add marsala cooking wine to the pan, then use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits. Allow the wine to reduce for 1 minute. Turn the heat to low, then add chilled butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, swirling the pan as it melts into the sauce. Don’t have marsala wine? Substitute with chicken stock and a generous splash of white wine.
Tips For The Best Veal Saltimbocca
Did you know that you can also place the prosciutto and sage on a cutlet, then roll it up before cooking? There are a few benefits to this: first, you don’t overcook the prosciutto. Second, you can fit everything in one pan; it will require only one batch of cooking, which cuts down on prep time. We like that!
However, there are some drawbacks: you get no crispy prosciutto (sad!), and also it takes much longer to cool the rolled veal cutlets. This is why we prefer to cook the cutlets flat, not rolled, as described above.
This is obviously a matter of opinion and there’s no wrong way to enjoy veal saltimbocca. Choose the method you prefer!
Also, because we’re cooking veal with a good amount of prosciutto, you’ll be better off if you only lightly season the cutlets with salt. Don’t over salt the veal — prosciutto is already quite salty. Don’t forget to serve with lemon wedges! The fresh lemon juice really cuts through the salty prosciutto!
As part of my Date Night In series, I’m offering up a few wine suggestions to serve alongside. Here’s the deal with saltimbocca: it is inherently salty. To work with that, we’re recommending wines that are acidic, fruity, or crisp. Avoid anything overly sweet, which will actually bring out the saltiness of the recipe.
Red wine: a fruit forward Pinot Noir (Oregon or Burgundy will have more pronounced acidity than those from California, so stick with the former) or a Rosso di Montalcino, which is the kid sibling to Brunello di Montalcino. Veal is expensive and delicate — do not overwhelm it with a big, in your face red or you’ll completely mask the flavor of the veal.
Rosé: For the sake of matching the food to the region where the grapes come from, we’ll suggest looking for dry, crisp rosés from Italy, particularly Tuscany.
White wine: Vernaccia (a Tuscan wine with good acidity and crisp notes) would be lovely. The first time we made this at home we enjoyed it with a Vinho Branco from Portugal, and I have to say it was stellar.
Veal is for sure not an every day ingredient. It’s a special meat that deserves a delicate hand. If this is your first time cooking veal, we’re certain that you can execute this saltimbocca beautifully (it’s easier than you think!) and we hope this opens your eyes — and stomachs — to the wonderful world of veal.
We love serving chicken or veal saltimbocca with roasted broccoli, Sicilian cauliflower, or creamy mashed potatoes! If you can get your hands on some heirloom carrots, they make a stellar side dish as well!
If you make our Veal Saltimbocca recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below! Looking for another veal recipe? Check out our Veal Marsala!
And make sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook for more Well Seasoned recipes! DON’T FORGET to tag us on social channels when you make a recipe at #wellseasonedstudio !! We LOVE seeing what you’re up to in the kitchen!
For more date night worthy dinner ideas, check out the following:
- Mozzarella caprese gazpacho
- Skillet chicken with white beans and kale
- Salmon piccata
- Shredded brussel sprouts Caesar salad
- Roast rack of lamb
Veal Saltimbocca (Saltimbocca alla Romana)
- 4 veal cutlets about 1 lb
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 8 pieces prosciutto
- 8 large sage leaves
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 6 Tbsp butter divided, chilled
- ⅓ cup marsala cooking wine
- 1 Tbsp chopped parsley for serving
- lemon wedges for serving
- Dredge the cutlets: Place veal cutlets in a large Ziplock bag (or bowl), then add flour, salt, and pepper. Seal, then shake to thoroughly coat.
- Assemble the cutlets: Place one piece of prosciutto on top of a veal cutlet. Add two sage leaves, then secure each to the veal with 2 toothpicks. Carefully turn the veal over, then place a second piece of prosciutto on the back. Secure with a third toothpick. Set aside and repeat with remaining cutlets.
- To cook: Heat olive oil and 2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add two veal cutlets, sage side down. Cook 2 minutes, then carefully flip. Cook 1 minute more, until prosciutto is crispy and veal has reached an internal temperature of 145F. (Okay to remove a few degrees lower, as the veal will continue to cook and rise in temperature as it rests.) Transfer to a plate, then repeat with remaining veal cutlets.
- Make the pan sauce: Add marsala to the pan, then use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits. Allow this to reduce for 1-2 minutes. Turn the heat to low, then add chilled butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, swirling the pan as it melts into the sauce.
- To serve: Either return cutlets to the pan or transfer cutlets to individual plates and spoon sauce on top. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
- Can substitute veal cutlets with chicken, pork, or turkey cutlets.
This post was originally published in October 2020. It has since been updated with additional information to make it easier to recreate at home.