Saltimbocca is Italian for “jumps in your mouth.” Not exactly, but close enough. It’s a mouthwatering dish consisting of three ingredients: Veal, sage, and prosciutto.
I’ve been making this dish for years - sometimes with veal, sometimes with pork - by seasoning the meat with salt and pepper, adding a leaf (or two, depending on size) of sage, and topping it all with a slice of prosciutto. Then, roll it up, stick a toothpick through, and cook for a few minutes in butter and extra-virgin olive oil.
It’s easy, delicious, and turns out perfect every time. So the other day I was craving saltimbocca, but it was a beautiful day and I didn’t want to cook inside. There was still plenty of 100% All-Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal left to use up before the coldest part of winter hits.
So I thought for a few minutes about how this would work on the charcoal grill and if there were any changes needed to be made.
Because it was my first time grilling saltimbocca, I decided to use the more budget-friendly thin-cut pork cutlets. If you choose to buy boneless pork or veal chops instead, you'll just need to pound them down until they're as thin as a cutlet.
The sage in my garden got enormous this summer but still managed to keep a concentrated pine-like, citrusy, I-don’t-really-know-how-to-explain flavor in its leaves.
Back to the changes - Here’s the first change: Instead of putting the sage on last, put it between the cutlet and prosciutto so that it's mostly protected from the high charcoal heat. And the rendering fat from the prosciutto will pick up the oils from the sage and seep into the cutlets to create a beautiful flavor.
Second change: Instead of rolling it up, just weave a toothpick through the three layers. This way, it will be flat and much easier to cook both sides evenly. And don’t worry, the cooking time is so short, you don’t have to soak the toothpicks.
Start the charcoals in your grill. While they're getting ready, quickly assemble the saltimbocca. And by quickly, it literally takes five minutes (including getting the sage leaves from the plant).
Place a lightly oiled cooking grate back on the grill. The cooking is so fast, overcooking can happen very quickly and is a real concern. I recommend cooking one first and checking to see that it's not overcooked. Mine cooked directly over the coals and here are the times: Meat side down first for two minutes, flip, and prosciutto side down for another 60 seconds. These are not typos. Total cooking time was three minutes! And trust me, if you cook them 10 seconds too long, they will be overcooked. Don’t blame me. I told you so 🙂
If you want to increase your flavor combo, before serving, melt a tablespoon of butter, squeeze some lemon juice into the butter, and drizzle over the dish. Oh yeah!
Serve with your favorite grilled vegetables (we enjoyed it with the sweetest end-of-summer corn on the cob).
Now you tell me if you know of a delicious meat dish that only takes 5 minutes to prepare and 3 minutes to cook. Yes, in under ten minutes you’ll have made Saltimbocca “alla Maplewoodroad” and you’ll love it!
Next time you’re invited to a BBQ and are asked to bring some food, prep these cutlets at home, and when all the food at the party is ready, quickly cook your saltimbocca, throw them in a bowl, and add them to the lineup. Then wait and see what happens.
Did you make this Grilled Saltimbocca recipe? Let us know in the comments below!
Mouthwatering Grilled Saltimbocca
- 6 thin-cut pork (or veal) cutlets
- 6 large sage leaves (or 12 small ones)
- 6 slices prosciutto, thinly sliced
- Salt & pepper
- 6 toothpicks
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Start charcoals.
- Assemble saltimbocca. Place cutlet on a cutting board, lay a sage leaf on top, then a slice of prosciutto. Weave through a toothpick to hold it all together, so it lies flat.
- Place a lightly oiled cooking grate back on the grill.
- Cook directly over the coals: Meat side down first for two minutes, flip, and prosciutto side down for another 60 seconds. These are not typos. Total cooking time of three minutes! And trust me, if you cook them 10 seconds too long, they will be overcooked. Don’t blame me. I told you so 🙂
- Before serving, melt a tablespoon of butter, squeeze some lemon juice into the butter, and drizzle over the dish.
- Serve with your favorite grilled vegetables.
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