Back before the kids took to the kitchen in the Junior version, I spent a Friday night in front of the tele watching (my not-so-secret crush) Gary and (hideous table-mannered) George holding court in a MasterChef Masterclass. It was my first Masterclass experience and I think it may have been my last, which is probably not a bad thing considering I went to the MasterChef website the next day and printed off all four recipes. If I was to keep watching Masterclasses, who knows where I would have stored all the printed recipes!
One of the recipes was a Veal Saltimbocca, cooked by the lovely Gary and made to look like tasty simplistic perfection. The first time I ate veal Saltimbocca was in Sorrento, Italy and I know it sounds clichéd, but to me it was Italy in a meal. And absolutely delicious. So since Gary’s Masterclass, I’ve been waiting to cook Italy and last night I had my chance with a last minute call from Dad looking for a dinner date.
First I bashed the veal escalopes between baking paper, using a saucepan (a tip from Jamie when one is lacking a meat mallet…), placed a couple of sage leaves on each one, then wrapped in a piece of prosciutto and dusted with some seasoned flour. Into a hot and oiled frying pan, I placed the veal, sage leaf side-down, plus some finely sliced garlic, baby capers and butter. Once the butter was foaming, I added cherry tomatoes and more sage leaves, turned the veal over and left to sizzle for a few minutes. The last step was to remove the veal from the pan, add some white wine (I used verjuice, coz I didn’t have a bottle of white open), season with S&P, squish the tomatoes with a fork (beware tomato spray!), add a handful of spinach leaves, toss til they’re wilted, then I served it all up with the veal and a cheek of lemon on the side.
It’s not often that I am left speechless by something I’ve cooked myself, but I am proud to admit that this Saltimbocca was sensational. So good I couldn’t talk, and Dad and I sat in silence for the first few minutes of our meal. And cliché or not, it was Italy. The flavours were fresh, both sweet & bitey, the meat was tender, but crispy on the outside and the colours were Italian. And best of all, it only took about 7 minutes to cook, start to finish.
To add to the “awesome” vibe at the table, we cracked open a bottle of the gutsy red I’d bought in the Hunter. It was an Ivanhoe Wines, SGD Shiraz Pressings 2009 and even Dad was impressed. He kept tilting the bottle, looking at the label, puffing out his cheeks. Go me – I must have learnt something on my wine tour. Something other than how to scam an extra top up, I mean…!
So, do yourself a favour, head onto the MasterChef website and download Gary’s Veal Saltimbocca recipe. And get yourself a good & gutsy red to go with it. Though a crisp white would probably suit as well. Buon appetito!
And one more thing. Here’s a quote that made me smile.
“Women are like teabags; you never know how strong they are until they’re put in hot water”. Eleanor Roosevelt