“Saltimbocca” literally means “jumps in the mouth” – that’s because these bite-sized meat and prosciutto squares disappear the minute they leave the pan!
- 4 (900 g) lamb back straps
- 16 sage leaves
- 8 large, very thin slices of prosciutto, halved crossways
- 35 g (¼ cup) plain flour
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
- 500 g lamb bones (see Note), cut into 2 or 3 pieces each
- 750 g chicken carcasses (see Note)
- 2 juniper berries
- 2 black peppercorns
- 1 whole clove
- 75 ml dry Marsala (try Pellegrino brand)
- 25 ml tawny port
- 2 zucchini, unpeeled
- 3 yellow squash
- ½ pomegranate
- 30 g ricotta salata (see Note)
- few sprigs each of marjoram, parsley, dill, basil and tarragon
- 3 tsp cabernet sauvignon verjuice (see Note)
- 1 tsp pomegranate molasses
- 60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp lime juice
- salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
The sauce will take 1 day to prepare, thus you'll need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
To prepare the Marsala sauce, place lamb bones on a tray lined with baking paper, drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil and roast for 20-25 minutes or until brown. In a saucepan, place the the roasted bones (discarding the oil) and chicken carcasses. Add the Masala, port, spices and 5 cups (1.25 litres) of water until just covered. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer so the liquid reduces, skimming impurities as you go.
When reduced by half (roughly 2 ½ hours), strain through a fine strainer into a wide sauté pan (or deep frying pan). Add the Marsala and port, and continue reducing over a simmer. The sauce is ready when you are left with 1 cup (250ml) of liquid (12-15 minutes). Strain again. (If you prefer a clear sauce, strain through a muslin cloth.)
To prepare the lamb saltimbocca, cut each back strap in 4 equal sections on an angle. With a meat tenderiser, flatten the lamb pieces between cling film to 5 mm thick. Line them on a tray and top each with a sage leaf, then wrap in prosciutto.
To prepare the salad, cut the zucchini lengthways in 3 mm slices with a mandolin. Lightly season with salt and set aside. Blanch the squash whole in simmering water for 5 minutes until tender, then set aside to cool on a tray lined with paper towel. Slice 3 mm thick with a mandolin.
De-seed the pomegranate by cutting a line around the skin and tear in half. Facing the cut side over a large bowl and hit the skin side repeatedly with the flat side of a wooden spoon. Retain all the juice, making sure that all the inner white pith is discarded.
Shave the ricotta salata with a vegetable peeler and set aside. Pick all the leaves of the herbs and coarsely chop. Place the molasses, lime juice, verjuice and the juice from the pomegranate in a bowl. Slowly pour in the extra virgin olive oil and whisk to emulsify the dressing. In another bowl, place all the other ingredients and drizzle with the dressing. Season to taste.
To cook the saltimbocca, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Dust the saltimbocca with flour (you can use rice flour if gluten intolerant). Pan-fry the saltimbocca for 2 minutes until brown, then flip over and cook the other side for a further minute.
Repeat in 3 more batches, so that you only have 4 saltimbocca in the pan at a time. Serve with the Marsala sauce and the zucchini salad.
• Lamb bones and chicken carcasses available from your local butcher or chicken shop.
• Ricotta salata is available from selected Italian delis.
• Cabernet verjuice available from selected delicatessens, or from Robert Stein Winery. If unavailable, use regular verjuice.
Photography by Alan Benson