Why Imitation Saltimbocca you might ask. Several reasons, one being that traditional saltimbocca is made with veal. Not only is veal difficult to find in a grocery store these days, but it is also expensive. And many sources believe that to create good veal cruelty to baby cows is involved (inhumane conditions and extreme confinement). So I decided to use a pork loin to create this saltimbocca instead.
What is saltimbocca and where did it originate? Saltimbocca originated in Rome, Italy. Veal saltimbocca is one of the staples of Rome cuisine and a dish you find both in restaurants and home kitchens. The name translates to ‘hop (or jump) into your mouth’, and is so delicious, it does! Traditional veal saltimbocca is thin cutlets of veal soaked in wine, wrapped in parma ham (prosciutto) and sage.
Today I decided to chop bacon and lay it on top of the pork loin slices instead of wrapping veal with prosciutto (traditional saltimbocca). I experimented with this method and it turned out very good, however, next time I may wrap the bacon around the pork loin to see if there is a difference in flavor.
The highlight of this recipe is really the wine. I used a Procedo Barbera from Lady Hill Winery which was superb – both in the wine marinade and drinkability with this dish. We had a delightful visit to the winery to test out which of their wines I wanted to feature. Frankly, all we tasted were very good, the choice was a difficult one.
The ingredients for this meal are simple, onions, potatoes, pork loin and spinach for plating. Fresh sage from the garden lent a bright herb undertone.
Pork loin slices marinating in Barbera wine.
Pork loin slices topped with pepper bacon and added to potatoes and onions to cook.
Laid on a bed of spinach this imitation saltimbocca was perfection that ‘hopped’ in my mouth. Paired with Procedo Barbera wine – well, what can I say? Double that perfection!
- 1 pound pork loin, sliced in two pieces
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 3/4 cup red wine (Barbera or your favorite red)
- 12 ounces potatoes, sliced in 1/2" pieces
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
- 1 onion, sliced in 1/2" pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 slices pepper bacon, whole for wrapping or chopped
- 2 cups cooked spinach (optional)
- Salt and pepper to season
- PREP: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Make several small pockets in the pork loin and insert slices of garlic. Place in a rimmed dish and cover with wine. Let marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
- Place sliced onions a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Gently toss to coat, keeping the slices intact. Do the same for the potatoes.
- Lay the onion and potato slices in the prepared rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the sage over the potatoes.
- Roast the potatoes and onions for 10 minutes. Add pork loin slices, season with salt and pepper and lay pepper bacon on top. Put the pan back in the oven and cook for another 10 minutes or until meat registered 135 degrees.
- Let ingredients rest before serving. Plate spinach (if using) and lay pork loin, onions, and potatoes on top.