This dish showcases the skillful skillet cookery and flavorful pan sauces that delighted me in Umbria. After lightly frying the veal scallops, you start the sauce with a pestata of prosciutto, anchovy, and garlic, build it up with fresh sage, wine, broth, and capers-and then reduce and intensify it to a savory and superb glaze on the scaloppine. Though veal is most prized in this preparation, I have tried substituting scallops of chicken breast and pork; both versions were quick and delicious. Serve the scaloppine over braised spinach, or with braised carrots on the side.
2 ounces prosciutto, roughly chopped
4 plum garlic cloves, peeled
3 small anchovy fillets
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 veal scallops, (2 to 3 ounces each)
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
8 fresh sage leaves
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ cup light chicken or vegetable stock, or water
2 tablespoons small capers, drained
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Using the food processor, mince the prosciutto, garlic, anchovies, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a fine-textured pestata.
Flatten the veal scallops into scaloppine, one at a time: place a scallop between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap, and pound it with the toothed face of a meat mallet, tenderizing and spreading it into a thin oval, about 1/4 inch thick.
Salt the scaloppine lightly on both sides, using about 1/2 teaspoon salt in all. Put the butter and remaining olive oil in the skillet, and set it over medium-low heat. When the butter begins to bubble, lay as many scaloppine in the pan as you can in one layer (about the half the pieces). Cook the first side for a minute or two, just until the meat becomes opaque but doesn't darken; flip the scaloppine, and lightly fry the second side the same way. Remove the first batch of veal to a plate, and fry the remaining scaloppine.
When all the scaloppine have had the first fry, raise the heat and boil off any accumulated meat liquid until the skillet is nearly dry. Drop in the pestata, stir it around the pan, and let it cook for a couple of minutes, until it's sizzling and rendering fat from the prosciutto. Scatter in the sage leaves, stir, and heat them until sizzling, then pour in the wine and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, and cook to reduce the wine by half. Pour in the stock, heat to a bubbling simmer, and return the scaloppine to the pan, sliding them into the liquid so they're moistened. Toss in the capers, and sprinkle the remaining salt over all.
Adjust the heat to keep the sauce simmering gently and reducing gradually. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning the scaloppine over once or twice, until almost all the moisture has evaporated, concentrating the sauce into a thick coating on the meat and pan bottom.
Remove the skillet from the heat, and sprinkle the parsley over the veal. Tumble the scaloppine over, coating them all with sauce and parsley, and serve immediately. Be sure to scrape every bit of concentrated sauce from the skillet, onto each serving of scaloppine.