Not Your Ordinary Saltimbocca

My first comment is that everyone should go get the Essential New York Times Cookbook Classical Recipes for a New Century by Amanda Hesser, copyright 2010. Each time I go to this cookbook it’s a success.

On a regular basis, my husband tells me that I should consider easier options for Sunday dinner so that I can enjoy the day and not be chained to the kitchen. The simple answer is that I do enjoy a day I get to spend in the kitchen. Today however was almost 70, sunny, in Michigan, in November and enjoying  some if it outside was high on my list of things to do. So I pulled out this cookbook knowing that within its pages of over 1000 recipes I would find what I was looking for. I flipped to the the section Beef, Veal, Lamb, and Pork and began to read. I considered a few different options, stews that I wouldn’t have to watch, I had Beef Burgandy or Stroganoff in my head, and then I landed on the Saltimbocca recipe, with the proscuitto nestled inside the veal.

I continued my reading and proceed onto the recommended pairings, she recommended a few different items, I had potatoes and a vegetable so that’s where I headed in the book, both also simple. The author also recommended panna cotta for dessert, I recalled that in the intro she mentioned that this cookbook contained the best Panna Cotta she had ever tasted, a bit of flipping and I confirmed that this was indeed the one she was referring to, with buttermilk as a main ingredient.

All of the recipes were as easy as promised. I made the panna cotta first, when I got home from the grocery store, I started at 1, it was in ramekins in the fridge by 2.

I then relaxed, read outside, did a few other Sunday tasks, but overall enjoyed my afternoon. At 5 I got my ingredients for dinner out, and began the potatoes, once those were in the pan, I started on the zucchini. At 5:40 the oven was preheated and the potatoes went in. The zucchini only took a few minutes longer to prep and I set it off to the side. I pounded out the veal and folded in he proscuitto as described; I set those off to the side as well. At 6:35, I put the zucchini in the oven, and then at 6:45, I began the veal cooking it in batches so as not to crowd the skillet.

Everything was done at 7, and we started the meal with a goat cheese, dried cherry, and pear salad from my MIL (perfect as always).

The meal was perfect, each item exactly as promised.


Nesting the proscuitto inside the veal protects it from the skillet and still keeps the veal moist. The sage adds a subtle touch of flavor.


Saltimbocca

prep 15 mins ∙ cook 10 min ∙ makes 4 servings ∙ difficulty Medium ∙ source Essential New York Times Cookbook | Amanda Hesser | 2010 – page 561

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 thin slices proscuitto
  • 4 small veal cutlets, pounded very thin
  • 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 sage leaves
  • Sea salt
  • Splash of dry white wine

DIRECTIONS
1. Place 2 pieces of prosciutto on each piece of veal so they hang over the ends and overlap in the middle. Fold each piece of veal in half, securing it wit toothpicks in 2 places.

2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a medium non-stick pan until foamy. Add the veal packages and sage leaves, and cook for about 1 minute on each side, turning once, until slightly brown. Season with salt as the packages cook, and sprinkle white wine into the pan as they finish. Discard sage and serve.


NOTES

Heat the oil and butter over medium heat.

These are perfectly crispy, I added extra garlic since we love it. I used a large cookie sheet rather than a roasting pan.


Italian Roasted Potatoes

prep 20 mintues ∙ cook 1 hour 15 mintues ∙ makes 6 servings ∙ difficulty Easy ∙ source Essential New York Times Cookbook | Amanda Hesser | 2010 – page 300

INGREDIENTS

  • 2½ pounds waxy potatoes (about 6 medium), scrubbed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine potatoes, garlic, oregano, and oil in a large roasting pan. Stir until potatoes are well-coated, and spread them evenly in pan.

2. Place in the oven, and roast until the potatoes are golden brown and crisp, 1 to 1¼ hours. (If the potatoes are crowded in the pan, they will take longer to crisp.)

3. Remove potatoes and garlic from oven, and transfer to serving dish. Sprinkle with salt to taste, and serve immediately.

NOTES
Use a coarse sea salt at the end.

This recipe was the only recipe that concerned me, I knew the flavor would be good, and the recipe notes assured me it would not be mush, but…  As you can see from the nip ages I could not find baby zucchini, only small, so I also cut them in half. My only edit would be to reduce the olive oil to ¼ cup.


Baked Zucchini with Herbs and Tomatoes

prep 20 minutes ∙ cook 20 minutes ∙ makes 6 servings ∙ difficulty Easy ∙ source Essential New York Times Cookbook | Amanda Hesser | 2010 – page 250

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 firm baby zucchini, or 5 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick sticks
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 scallions, white part only, thinly sliced
  • Leaves from 3 inner stalks celery
  • 6 basil leaves
  • About ¼ cup flour
  • 2 whole ripe plum tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • Sea salt
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine zucchini, onion, and scallions in a colander. Tear celery and basil leaves into small pieces and sprinkle on top. Sprinkle flour over all. Using one hand, press and toss ingredients together until well mixed and coated (it will get a little moist, but not gooey). Add tomatoes, season with salt and toss once more.

2. Pour half the olive oil into a medium baking dish or ceramic pie plate. Fill dish with zucchini mixture, then grind pepper over top. Sprinkle remaining oil on top, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until ingredients are just cooked but still firm.


Although Amanda recommended a blueberry sauce, I opted for blackberries, I described both options in the notes.

Panna Cotta

cook 15 minutes ∙ makes 6 servings ∙ difficulty Medium ∙ source Essential New York Times Cookbook | Amanda Hesser | 2010 – page 840

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 package powdered gelatin
  • 1⅔ cups buttermilk
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh fruit for garnish

DIRECTIONS
1. Place the cream and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 7 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let stand for 5 minutes.

3. Stir the gelatin into the warm cream until dissolved. Stir in the buttermilk and salt and remove from heat.

4. Ladle the mixture into six 6-ounce ramekins. Refrigerate, loosely covered, until set, at least 2 hours.

5. To serve, run the tip of a small knife around the edge of the ramekins to loosen the panna cotta, and unmold onto individual plates.

6. Let stand until almost at room temperature, about 1 hour. Surround with fruit and serve.

NOTES
From the cookbook:

To unfold, dip the ramekins in a bowl of hot water for 30 seconds then dry the bottoms of the ramekins before inverting onto serving plates and tapping out the panna cotta.

For serving, I brought, ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan, added 1 cup blueberries and 1 star anise pod, turned off the heat, and let the mixture steep 20 minutes (remove the star anise before serving the sauce).
My notes:

For serving, I set 24 blackberries aside and brought the remainder to a boil in a small saucepan with 3 tbsp. sugar and 3 tbsp. water and let them boil until the berries were soft. I remove it from the heat and crushed the berries. Just prior to serving I stirred in the remaining fresh berries.

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