A midlife crisis can be great. What’s wrong with a new Porsche or a well-equipped man cave? Even a boys’ golfing weekend in South Carolina could work – Spring Break for pseudo-seniors.
Or, how about going back to school part time for two years and spending every waking hour outside of work desperately trying not to fall behind so you can get that master’s degree you always wanted (and probably never needed)?
How’s my new car, you ask? The leather La-Z-Boy with built-in cup-holder in my camouflage-themed basement retreat? My nine-iron shot?
Let’s just say that none of my textbooks has a creamy leather interior or a 60-inch flat screen with Dolby surround sound. And next time I want to have a mid-life crisis I am definitely going to take the advice of my male friends, not my wife.
Meanwhile, the first grades are in. The one nice thing about going back to school at this age is that you don’t have to tell anyone your marks – they are between you, your professor and perhaps the lending institution funding your ill-considered return to university. No one needs to know whether that ear-to-ear smile and slightly maniacal laugh mean you aced accounting or simply that the course is over and you will never, ever, ever, ever have to pretend to understand how to create a consolidated financial statement or consider the discounted cash-flow model again. Ever.
Saltimbocca is the perfect way to mark any life event, good or bad – even something as bad as your accounting grade. This simple dish can be both celebratory and comforting… a bright jolt of flavour to end a perfect day, or a consoling pat-on-the-back when you’re feeling a little down. Debit or credit – nobody needs to know but you. (And you already forgot which is which!)
There are many ways to make saltimbocca, which means “jumps in the mouth” in Italian. (And jump they do – I have never had leftovers.) I make mine with pork rather than veal because it costs less and goes just as well with the earthy sage, salty prosciutto and lemon-butter-white wine sauce that give this dish intense flavour and richness. Some recipes call for toothpicks to hold everything in place, but that’s too much work. I just fold the pork over the sage and prosciutto before dusting with a little all-purpose flour and sautéing in butter.
Anyway, who needs a Porsche when you’ve got saltimbocca? Plus, it won’t depreciate your assets! (Or something like that.)
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 2 ounce pieces (approximately) and pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
1 bunch fresh sage with large leaves
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4-5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place a large sage leaf on each piece of pork and cover with a piece of prosciutto, fold pork over, roughly in half (exposed bits of prosciutto and sage will crisp in the pan and add to the flavour so don’t fold too neatly). Season the pork with a little salt and pepper.
Place flour in a wide flat bowl or plate and add folded pork pieces. Turn to coat all surfaces. Shake off excess flour and set pork aside.
Heat a large pan over medium high heat and add 2-3 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil (it will keep the butter from burning). When the butter foams add the pork and sauté, turning once for approximately 2 minutes per side or until pork is browned and cooked through, reducing the heat to medium. If you need to cook the pork in batches, keep the cooked saltimbocca in a 250 F oven while you sauté the rest.
When saltimbocca is cooked set aside and cover with foil or place in 250 F oven while you make the sauce.
For the sauce, raise the heat to medium high and add the wine to the pan and scrape up all the brown bits with a spatula. Add the lemon and stir. Reduce heat to medium and cook the sauce until it is reduced by roughly half (about five minutes). Stir in the remaining butter. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Pour the sauce over the pork and serve. Enjoy!