There’s a reason the classics continue to appear on menus worldwide. The art of the flavors and how they blend transport our taste buds to regional cuisines all over the world and this saltimbocca recipe is no exception. With tender pan-fried veal cutlets wrapped in thin prosciutto and rich sage, it was ripe for a keto-friendly version. And this recipe did the trick, while also paying homage to tradition.
Veal saltimbocca is a dish I remember seeing every time I sat down in Little Italy for dinner. A classic staple on the menu right along with lasagne, bolognese, and alfredo. But ordering veal always made things seem a little extra special.
I first fell in love with the way Italian cuisine uses the tender nutrient-rich protein in a myriad of dishes from velvety stuffed florentine to milanese. But recently, while dining in an alley in LA, I had the opportunity to sink into a saltimbocca again. It was outstanding. And once again, I was transported to ancient streets, sweeping views, and smiles from afar as we dined under the stars.
But before I continue to wax on poetically about food….
What is veal saltimbocca?
A classic Italian dish with Roman roots, saltimbocca makes use of cured meat, prosciutto, to wrap around tender cutlets with sage in a quick cook. The salty cured meat seasons the dish and the signature flavor of sage roots all of the flavors. Overall, it makes for a dish incredibly rich with taste while still feeling light.
What I love most about saltimbocca is how each ingredient really holds its own as simple as they are, reminding us once again that great food comes down to a few quality ingredients.
If you’re looking to break from tradition and try something new, my spin on this recipe as a burger is delicious!
What you need to make this recipe
Ok, this is one of those recipes that full-on impresses the mother-in-law kind of awesome but is also incredibly easy to make. All you need is veal cutlets, prosciutto, sage leaves, flour (or flour substitute for specialty diets), oil for frying, butter, and some garnish if you’re feeling zesty (feel zesty, we’re trying to impress here). It’s also a little black book recipe you should learn, so gather those ingredients and let’s get to work.
Traditionally, veal saltimbocca isn’t breaded but dredged in flour. However, for this version, we are sticking to a keto-friendly mindset and omitting traditional flour for almond flour and substituting the wine with avocado oil.
You can make this with chicken cutlets as well, but veal is an excellent source of protein, iron, and zinc and because it’s such mild meat, the crisp flavor of the prosciutto and sage shine through.
Girl Carnivore Pro Tip: shaving some grana padano over this dish while it’s resting adds another luscious layer.
How to make this recipe
While preparing to impress the mother-in-law, brush up on some kitchen terminology, like mise en place. Which means to have everything together, measured, chopped, and prepped for cooking. Essentially, it’s the 15 minutes of prep you need before you start assembling the veal.
Once you have brushed up on your French, and everything is ready to go, make a workstation to take the veal from start to finish. Start by making the cutlets thin enough, then the prosciutto to wrap them, use a toothpick to secure the sage, a shallow dish to dredge it in, and then finally to the hot pan to fry.
The trick to great veal saltimbocca is preheating the pan and a fast sear, one to two minutes per side. Because it is so thin, the meat cooks quickly while maintaining a tender texture.
Veal cutlets should be cooked to 145 °F according to the USDA.
Pairing Veal Saltimbocca
Serve this with wilted spinach, pan-seared mushrooms in a marsala sauce, or if you’re sticking to a keto-friendly version, blanched green beans. A hearty salad is always great on the side along with oil tossed pasta cooked al dente or polenta.
Luckily this dish also takes well to both a mild fruity red wine or a light Chardonnay, allowing guests to pick according to their preference.
Want more recipe inspiration? Try some of my favorite recipes
If you’ve tried my Veal Saltimbocca Burger Recipe or any other recipe on GirlCarnivore.com please don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know where you found it in the comments below. I get inspired by your feedback and comments! You can also FOLLOW ME on Instagram @girlcarnivore as well as on Twitter and Facebook.
- dutch oven
- 1 lbs veal cutlets
- 4 oz prosciutto
- 4 fresh sage leaves
- ½ cup almond flour
- 4 tbsp butter
- ⅓ cup avocado oil
- Coarse ground black pepper
- Shaved parmesan
- Lemon wedges
Prep the veal
- Pat the veal dry and arrange on a clean work surface. Cover the veal with plastic wrap and pound the veal into ¼” thin pieces.
- Trim, cutting the veal in half, if needed to make manageable portions for frying.
Add the Prosciutto
- Working one piece at a time, place a layer of prosciutto over the veal, top with a sage leaf.
- Weave a long sharp toothpick through the veal, to secure the prosciutto and sage.
Flour the Veal
- In a shallow pan, spread the almond flour out.
- Dip the veal into the almond flour, to dredge both sides with a light dusting of almond flour.
- Shake off the excess.
Cook the Veal
- Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
- Add the butter and avocado oil to the pan.
- Melt butter in the pan, swirling to coat the pan.
- Place the veal in, a few pieces at a time, to not overcrowd the pan, searing 2 minutes on each side.
- Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess liquid.
- Repeat until all cutlets have been cooked to 145 degrees F and rested 5 minutes.
- Serve over oil tossed arugula and sprinkle with shaved parmesan, freshly ground pepper, and lemon wedges for serving.