This recipe came to me by divine intervention. In a rush to make pork saltimbocca for dinner, I came to learn that my sage plant had been the victim of a terrible storm. Desperate to salvage supper, I had to use what little I had left in my kitchen (we’d just packed to move home) and all I could find was brandy, paprika and a little cream. I’m so grateful.
Saltimbocca is normally made with veal. It’s simply an escalope, wrapped in prosciutto and fried with wine or marsala. The title loosely translates to ‘jump in the mouth’, but this version reaches further – this will dance on your tastebuds.
60g (21/4oz) unsalted butter
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 Maris Piper potato, cut into 1cm (1/2in) dice
1 pork loin steak
2 slices prosciutto ham
100g (31/2oz) chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp brandy or vodka
50ml (2fl oz) double cream
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped chives, to serve
Start with the potatoes. Put half of the butter and the oil into a large, deep-sided frying or sauté pan and set over a high heat. Once the butter melts and starts to sputter, throw in the potato chunks and reduce the heat to medium. Fry the spuds, tossing or stirring every so often, for a good 20 minutes, or until golden, crispy and cooked through.
Meanwhile, prepare the pork. If the loin steak has a thick streak of fat running down the side, remove it. Put the steak between two pieces of cling film and bash it with a rolling pin or meat mallet until evenly thin. Wrap the slices of prosciutto around the piece of steak to cover both sides.
Once cooked, transfer the potatoes to a plate. Return the pan to a high heat and add the remaining butter. Once the butter melts and sputters, add the steak and mushrooms, and reduce the heat to medium. Fry the steak for 3 minutes per side, and give the mushrooms a stir every now and again.
When the steak is cooked, remove it from the pan, set aside on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Leaving the mushrooms in the pan, add the paprika and stir to coat the mushrooms. Throw in the brandy or vodka and allow it to bubble and evaporate. Add 100ml (3 1/2fl oz) water and allow it to almost entirely evaporate, then remove from the heat and stir in the cream to a smooth sauce. Return the steaks to the pan, and coat them in the thick sauce. Throw in the potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with the chopped chives scattered over the top.
Recipe excerpted from A Flash in the Pan by John Whaite. Copyright 2019 Kyle Books.
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