We are huge fans of used-book and thrift stores, and James has an eagle-eye for spotting treasures of any sort. A few weeks ago he brought a unique book home – The Complete Round-The-World Meat Cookbook. by Myra Waldo. Published in 1967, it promoted “unusual and classic meat recipes for all cuts of meat from people all over the world.” I love the opening paragraph:
“Meat was prehistoric man’s most desired food-when he could get it. He settled for nuts and berries and greenery when he couldn’t, but meat was what he always wanted and we haven’t changed very much.”
Indeed. I spent part of Saturday morning browsing through this trove of awesome meatiness. It would surprise me if there is any cut of meat or any nationality that is unaccounted for – and Ms. Waldo knew her worldwide meat, having traveled extensively as a food consultant to Pan American World Airways. I don’t know how Pan Am’s on-board meals were, back in the day, but I’m sure they had to be better than the current offerings from the airlines!
The recipe for Veal Saltimbocca caught my eye – the preparation is simple, but big on flavor. I looked at more recipes for saltimbocca on the internet, and not surprisingly since this is a classic, there is little variation in how it is prepared. Here I’ll offer my version, loosely adapted from Ms. Waldo’s 1967 recipe. We served the veal over a bed of wilted spinach and garlic. Incidentally, saltimbocca means “jumps in the mouth” … we can testify to that!
- 6 veal cutlets (chicken would also work, and is less pricey)
- 6 slices of prosciutto
- Fresh sage leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Beef lard and/or butter (from grass-fed cattle if you can get it)
- ~1 cup of white wine (I used Chardonnay)
- 1/2 lemon
Place a few sage leaves on each piece of veal, then cover with a slice of prosciutto. Cover with a second sheet of waxed paper, and pound the veal and prosciutto with a meat mallet to flatten the cutlets to a consistent thickness and to help adhere the prosciutto to the veal. (I found that it really does not adhere well, but it didn’t really matter. Don’t fret about it.)
Melt ~2 tablespoons of lard and/or butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Without crowding the pan, brown each cutlet on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the cutlets to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat for each cutlet. Add additional fat to the pan if necessary.
When cutlets are done, add wine to the pan, stirring well to scrape up all the delicious browned bits. Allow to reduce by half, remove from heat, and whisk in ~2 tablespoons of butter and a good squeeze of lemon juice to finish the sauce. Serve the veal over spinach with the sauce. Enjoy!
Enjoy indeed! This is some tasty stuff, as are the musical suggestions…at least, I think so!
First up is the ruling family of New Orleans, The Neville Brothers, with the classic funk of Fiyo on the Bayou, which is so good it could make a dead man dance. “Iko Iko”, “Hey Pocky Way” and the title cut all will put some pep in your step, thanks to the great vocals of the brothers, backed up by The Meters. Essential stuff!
Speaking of funky, it doesn’t get much better than Sneakin Sally Through the Alley from the late, great Robert Palmer. If you only are familiar with the dashing guy from the MTV days, surrounded by women in short dresses, then you’re in for a treat. His early material is energetic and full of funk, thanks to having both Little Feat and The Meters backing him up here. Found this on vinyl yesterday, and the first three songs brought back great musical memories. Try it!