Saltimbocca, literally meaning “jump into the mouth”, is a traditional Italian dish that is simple yet surprisingly full of flavor. Just reading the list of ingredients can make your mouth water and stomach rumble.
The dish is prepared with the earthy flavor of fresh sage, the subtle smokiness of Pancetta, a dry white wine, olive oil and of course a little butter. The most traditional Saltimbocca recipes use veal; however, I like to prepare Saltimbocca with Pork Tenderloin. Prepared with just a few ingredients, this dish can go from stove top to dinner table in minutes.
Traditional Saltimbocca recipes use flour for dusting the meat prior to cooking. I’ve left out this step for home chef’s looking for gluten free recipes. The result is just as delicious as the traditional version.
I’ve made this so many times, I don’t use the toothpick anymore. But feel free to secure the pancetta, sage and pork with a toothpick… just to keep it pretty.
1 ½ lb pork tenderloin, sliced crosswise into 8 slices
16 fresh sage leaves
8 slices pancetta
2-3 tablespoons safflower, sunflower, coconut or grapeseed oil (oil for high heat cooking)
½ C white wine
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
On a cutting board, place the pork slices cut side up and pound to about a ¼ inch thickness with a meat mallet or wine bottle. Sprinkle both sides with a little salt and black pepper.
Place two sage leaves on each piece of tenderloin and then cover with a piece of pancetta. Secure the sage and pancetta with a toothpick.
Heat the oil over medium high in a large heavy bottom skillet. Add the cutlets pancetta side down and cook 2-3 minutes on each side.
Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm. Once all the cutlets are done, add the wine to the skillet and stir to remove all the little brown bits. Bring to a simmer for a minute or two and once again season with salt or pepper to taste. At this point, take your sauce off the heat and add a pat of butter to “gloss your sauce”. Pour sauce over cutlets and serve immediately.
Side ideas: I love to serve this with basil lemon roasted red baby potatoes and fresh mixed greens with citrus vinaigrette. Or roasted spring asparagus with lemon zest vinaigrette and a wild rice pilaf with parmesan and pine nuts.