Tackling your first scaloppine recipe is a bit like being handed the car keys for your first night driving solo, an event occasioning braggadocio tempered by a gruff fatherly warning, Don’t screw this up. Your skills are on display. Since the dish is cooked just a few minutes before eating, it necessarily involves a bit of brinksmanship. If it doesn’t work, well, there’s always pizzaphone. The thing is, despite appearances there’s not much chance of that happening. The risk is illusory. This week’s Pork Scaloppine with Prosciutto, Capers and Sage is guaranteed to have you home by midnight. Plus, you’re going to look really good.
Scallops, scaloppini, scaloppine (Italian) and escalopes (French) are all the same thing–thin cuts of meat, pounded even thinner by the cook (that would be you) before being dredged in flour and sautéed in butter, oil or a combination of the two. Although veal is the traditional protein of choice, this technique is easily adapted to pork, poultry (turkey is particularly good), and even meaty seafood like salmon or swordfish. Prep is minimal, and any crispy bits left in the pan make a quick delicious sauce. Fancy, fast, vast acclaim from all–what’s not to like?
Jody’s recipe does all of the above, minus the flour. That’s because we wrap the scallops in prosciutto, which adds a bit of complexity to the pork inside. Sage is a traditional accompaniment to veal scaloppine, but in this case it’s also a great match with pork. Also, if you take the trouble to place a sage leaf under the prosciutto it will look spectacular after cooking.
If this is your first time, remember to pay attention, don’t play the radio too loud, go slow, and try to enjoy yourself. Ken
Pork Scaloppine with Prosciutto,
Capers and Sage
Makes 4 entree servings
- 4 4-ounce pork cutlets
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12-20 sage leaves, depending on the size
- 8 thin slices prosciutto, about 4 ounces
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1½ tablespoon rinsed capers
- Pound the cutlets so they are about twice their original size and all of even thickness at ¼-inch to make scaloppine. Season the inside only with salt and pepper.
- Top each scallop with a couple of sage leaves. Fold the cutlet in half, enclosing the sage. Add a leaf or two on top. Wrap each one with 2 prosciutto slices, putting only a single layer over the sage leaves.
- Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large sauté pan medium heat. Add the scaloppine, sage side down, and cook on the first side 2 minutes flip and cook on the second side until the meat is slightly under done and the prosciutto is crispy, about 1½ minutes.. The meat will continue to cook as it rests.
- Transfer the pork to a warm platter to rest.
- Add the remaining butter to the pan and allow it to brown. Add the shallots and capers and cook 30 seconds. Add the balsamic vinegar. Once the butter foams up, remove the pan from the heat. If you leave the pan on the heat too long, the balsamic vinegar will start to evaporate and the remainder will caramelize too much. Season with pepper and pour over the pork.
- Serve with boiled potatoes, a green vegetable like asparagus or a salad.
Growing up, I always thought scaloppine was a big slab of veal–breaded, fried and slathered with a Marsala mushroom sauce. When I began learning about regional Italian cuisine I discovered that’s a far cry from the ideal. It should be a thin piece of lightly pounded meat, cooked quickly and topped with a simple pan sauce. The Piccata version is made with lemon juice, but I love the added sweetness of the balsamic vinegar in this recipe. And I’ve switched things up by stuffing, folding and wrapping the pork bundle in prosciutto. It’s still pretty quick.
Step through the gallery to see the steps of the recipe in detail, or just click on a photo to see it enlarged.