By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
Saltimbocca means “jump in the mouth,” and this dish is traditionally from Rome . . . or maybe from Brescia.
The great Pellegrino Artusi, in his 1891 book Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, tells how he would have eaten the dish for the first time in a famous Roman trattoria named “Le Venete,” located in via di Campo Marzio. But many authors state that this delicious dish isn’t originally from Rome but from Brescia, in Northern Italy. Even the famous cooking writer Ada Boni in her The Roman Cuisine of 1930 spoke about this dish as an import that only later took Roman citizenship—possibly due to the popularity of Artusi’s book. The same thing was said in other cookbooks, where the paternity of the saltimbocca was attributed to Brescian chefs. It seems they were cooked for the first time in the pre-unification period, in Lombardy-Veneto, in Brescia, between Vicenza and Verona.
At any rate, Romans are proud of their saltimbocca, and so are Brescians. It's just another great example of how in Italian cuisine, the same dish can be cooked in many different kitchens in different regions of our country.
You might see speck used instead of raw ham, chicken slices instead of veal. You'll see some variations where a slice of cheese is added. Sometimes brandy will be used instead of wine to give the dish an extra kick. These variations and more are all delicious versions of the saltimbocca. It's quick and easy to make and is a true Italian dish.
Don’t forget to remove the toothpick before eating them!
Saltimbocca alla Romana
8 slices prosciutto