Tender, bursting with flavor, and topped with gooey cheese, this pork saltimbocca is going to jump into your mouth as quickly as your fork can manage! It’s also going to jump from your prep area right onto your plate since it’s one of those dinners which comes together in a flash, making it great for a weeknight meal while also being impressive enough for company. And totally get some crusty bread or pasta to soak up that sauce. Yum!
Many years ago I used to make saltimbocca in the classic style – with tender, thin veal cutlets, and it was always a tasty, elegant, and easy meal. Add in some sauteed spinach and you can even say it’s a healthy meal, full of good-for-you greens.
How can you go wrong with that?
You really can’t! Except…I’ve moving away from veal in recent years and, even if I wasn’t, finding tender veal cutlets is near to impossible. So, what’s a girl to do when she wants some saltimbocca and veal is no longer on the menu?
That’s when it is pork tenderloin to the rescue! Pork tenderloin is:
- widely available
- so so tender!
- easy to trim and cut to size
- and yummy 🙂
These days all my saltimbocca is pork saltimbocca and no one even misses the veal.
The only issue with pork tenderloin is that it has a very small diameter. Each tenderloin has plenty of meat, but if you cut quarter inch slices of pork, you are going to have 20 (or more) tiny pieces to deal with! Just try to put some prosciutto and a sage leaf on each one of those! By the time you’re done, everyone will have given up on dinner and made themselves sandwiches.
Luckily this issue is easily solved. Really easy. As easy as 1-2-3:
- Cut the pork tenderloin at an angle. Angle = wider slices right from the start.
- Cut the tenderloin thick! I cut 3/4 inch pieces. Thick pieces = few pieces.
- Pound that tenderloin until it’s thin. Tender meat = being able to pound the slices nice and thin.
Now instead of 20 teeny pieces, you will have around 8 large pieces for your pork saltimbocca. Much easier to saute and much prettier too!
Once you have your tenderloin sorted, it’s time to top them with prosciutto. I take a piece of prosciutto about the size of my slice of pork and lay it over one side, smoothing it down so it sticks to the meat. Then I pour some flour into a wide bowl and place the pork in the bowl, one side then the other into the flour. If you aren’t rough with the pork, the prosciutto stays on no problem!
After the pork is prepped, everything goes fast, so get the cheese grated, the garlic chopped, and the spinach sauteing. A few minutes later you’ll have dinner!
If you are looking for a few other meals which are quick to make and company ready, you might enjoy my Mediterranean Chicken and Oranges, or my Pan Seared Duck Breast, or how about my Oven Fried Cod with Cara Cara Oranges? All excellent. All quick. All make for a pretty plate!
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
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- 1 pork tenderloin, about 1.25 lbs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 slices (2 oz) prosciutto
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 7-9 sage leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup low-sodium or no-sodium chicken stock
- 4 oz fontina, shredded
- kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 16 oz fresh baby spinach, rinsed and still wet
Trim the pork tenderloin of fat and connective tissue. Cut it on the diagonal into 7-9 3/4-inch pieces. Pound each piece until it is 1/4 inch thick and about the size of your hand. Top each piece with 1/2 of a slice of prosciutto.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Then dredge the pork and prosciutto in flour until evenly coated. Once the oil is hot, place the pork prosciutto side down in the skillet. Sear the pieces until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a plate and cover lightly with foil.
Add the butter to the skillet. Once the butter is melted, add the sage leaves and fry them until lightly browned and crispy, 1 minute. Transfer the sage to the plate with the pork.
Add the garlic to the skillet and saute for 30 seconds. Pour in the white wine. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the sauce is brown and thickened.
Take the skillet off the heat. Return the pork to the skillet and mound some of the fontina over piece, then place one sage leaf on each piece. Cover the skillet and let it sit until the fontina is melted. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.
While the pork is cooking, make the sauteed spinach. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and kosher salt. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the wet spinach and cover the pan. Cook the spinach until it is wilted and dark green, 4-5 minutes.
Serve the pork saltimbocca over the sauteed spinach along with egg noodles or a nice, crusty bread.
- The prosciutto sticks quite well to the pork and I haven't had any need to use a toothpick to keep it in place. Put the flour in a wide bowl and lay the pork in it, one side then the other. I do put my thumb over the prosciutto as I dredge the pork, which keeps it from shifting.
- If you are making a double batch (two tenderloins), I would highly recommend transferring the pork to a baking sheet after sauteing and let the cheese melt in the oven while you make the sauce and finish the spinach. You will heat the oven to 350, top the slices with cheese, fry up the sage then place the sage on each slice, and bake until the cheese melts, about 5-7 minutes.
- When cutting the pork at an angle, look to see which way the fibers are going to make sure you are cutting against the grain and not with it. The muscle fibers can also angle in the tenderloin and then you are cutting some very long fibers, which will be harder to pound thin and a little less tender.
- I make the saltimbocca in my cast iron skillet. It's nonstick and can take the high heat.
- Use wet spinach in the recipe so the water on the spinach can steam in the saute pan.