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It’s Time to Turn On to the Classics

Saltimbocca alla Romana, an Italian favorite, demonstrates some principles of microwaving that can be applied to other recipes.

First, it’s always important that the meat be cut into pieces of as equal size as possible then pounded to uniform thickness. If the sizes vary, the smaller pieces of meat will toughen and dry before the larger ones are done.

Second, this saltimbocca also demonstrates the importance of arranging foods in a single layer in the microwave oven and the need to use a casserole lid to hold in as much moisture as possible during the final cooking.

Third, browning meat well before it goes into the microwave not only heightens the color of the finished dish but also helps develop rich meaty flavor.

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You will note the microwaving is begun on HIGH, then finished on MEDIUM. There’s good reason for this. By using full power at the outset, you can heat the rolled veal scallops quickly. But once that’s done, the power should be reduced to MEDIUM so they will cook more evenly throughout.

And here’s a final point: Whenever thin slices of meat, fish or poultry are rolled, always use wood picks to secure them, never plastic, which may melt, or small metal poultry pins or skewers, which can cause arcing--sparks or electric flashes cracking and popping inside the oven.

SALTIMBOCCA ALLA ROMANA

1 1/2 pounds veal scaloppine, cut in 6x3x1/4-inch pieces and pounded 1/8-inch thick

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1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh sage or 3/4 teaspoon dried sage

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 pound very thinly sliced prosciutto

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1/2 cup dry white wine

Hot cooked rice

Sprinkle 1 side of each piece of scaloppine with sage and pepper, then top each with prosciutto, cutting as needed to fit. Roll up jelly-roll style and fasten with wood picks.

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Heat oil and butter in 10-inch glass ceramic casserole or large heavy skillet. Add veal rolls and cook on top of stove over medium heat 3 minutes to brown all over. (If using skillet, transfer browned rolls and pan drippings to 2-quart casserole.)

Arrange rolls in single layer with smaller ones in center, pour in wine, cover and microwave on HIGH (100% power) 6 to 7 minutes, rotating casserole 180 degrees at half time, until wine bubbles.

Reduce power to MEDIUM (50% power) and microwave, covered, 6 to 7 minutes, turning rolls over and rearranging at half time, until tender. Remove wood picks and serve with pan juices and hot cooked rice. Makes 4 servings.

Note: In ovens of less than 600 watts, increase cooking times about 15%.


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