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Veal Escalope with Prosciutto and Sage – Veal Saltimbocca
The classic version of this veal escalope recipe is called Saltimbocca and is made with marsala to deglaze the pan and create a sauce. It’s not something I keep in the house and for me, the combination of veal, lemon, prosciutto and sage is enough without the addition of any alcohol. Or you can do as I have done here and use dry white wine to make a sauce and deglaze the pan. You can make a Saltimbocca with chicken or pork instead if you are concerned about finding ethically farmed veal. But, that shouldn’t really be an issue so long as you buy British veal and in fact, there is some argument that you SHOULD buy veal.
Rose veal, which is so-called because the meat has a pinkish hue as the calves are not reared entirely on milk, is a way of enabling dairy farmers to use the male calves that would otherwise be slaughtered almost at birth. And, according to Jimmy Docherty, the animals have a longer life than many other types of meat we eat (chicken and lamb for example). I’m interested in your views. I happily do this recipe with pork fillet, which is cheaper but tends to be sold in a quantity that means I’m eating pork for the next week. I’m no longer sure what is ethical and sustainable and what is not, but avoiding waste must be key – and rose veal does just that.
An easy way to prepare and cook a veal escalope - Veal Saltimbocca is a classic Italian recipe, adapted here for the British kitchen
- 2 Veal Escalopes beaten out between clingfilm till about 1/4cm thick
- 1/2 Lemon
- 4 Sage Leaves
- 2 Thin slices Proscuitto or similar ham
- 25 g Butter
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 small glass dry white wine or Marsala wine for authenticity
- 1 tbsp Flour
- Salt and Pepper
If necessary beat out the veal escalopes to around 1/4 inch thickness
Top each escalope with a slice of ham. Don't worry if, like here, your escalopes split in two, simply cut the ham to fit each piece. Press the ham down to seal it to the veal then top each piece with a sage leaf.
Use the toothpicks to fix the veal, ham and sage together
Put the flour into a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Carefully dip each escalope in the flour to coat it all over
- Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the oil. When the mixture is hot, add the meat
- Cook on each side for about one and a half minutes
Remove the meat from the pan and keep warm. Add the wine and the lemon juice into the pan and stir to deglaze the pan. Reduce the mixture down by about 50% so you have a sauce to serve with the veal.
Return the veal to the pan and warm through gently. Remove the toothpicks before serving.
estimated calories for a 125g veal escalope
If you want to make this dish up in advance, don’t go any further than making up the escalopes. The flour will tend to soak into the meat and make a chewy coating if it is left for too long. Once the veal, ham and sage are put together it really is very quick from pan to plate, though you need to remove the toothpicks before serving (I found the trick was to use two forks to lever them out carefully).
I serve this dish in the summer with new potatoes and beans. In winter, it works beautifully with creamy mashed potatoes and winter green vegetables. Add a wedge of lemon to each plate so each diner can adjust to their own taste.
It’s one of those strikingly easy dishes that make a delicious meal for two people and would be perfect for date night because it’s so quick to cook and serve. If you are cooking for more people you can, of course, multiply up the quantities – and just fry off all your escalopes before making the sauce up in the frying pan, skipping the final stage of returning the escalopes to the pan and pouring the sauce over instead.
Thinking of trying my Veal Saltimbocca recipe for veal escalopes? Why not pin this post for later.
Note: I first posted this recipe in 2012, but I’ve since been gifted a fabulous new pan from Samuel Groves, so I remade the recipe and reshot it using my new Ultimate Carbon 10″ fryingpan.
Looking for something different? I have plenty of date night recipes on London Unattached that are based on other ingredients. How about a homemade beef wellington for example, or a classic beef stroganoff. For dessert, I have plenty of options including this delicious recipe for cranachan. Or, you could try classic English pancakes for two.