The title of this dish “alla Sorrentina,” means it comes from Sorrento, across the bay from Naples. You may have had this dish prepared with mozzarella cheese, which is the cheese of the area, but I am showing you an alternative way here, using Fontina. Use whichever you like, and whichever you can get. By the way, “alla Sorrentina” is a good indicator that the dish you order will contain eggplant in some form or another. If you prepare this dish without the eggplant, you’ll have ‘scallopine alla Bolognese.’
You can add a little elegance to the dish by straining the sauce as you spoon it onto plates. That is something I do in my restaurants. But in my home—and most likely in yours—the sauce is just fine the way it comes out of the baking dish.
- 1 medium eggplant (about 1 ¼ pounds)
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or more as needed
- 8 to 12 fresh sage leaves (optional), plus more for decorating the plates
- Veal, Chicken or Pork Scallopine for four
- freshly ground pepper
- 4 slices (about 2 ounces) imported Italian prosciutto
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- all-purpose flour
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup, or as needed, hot chicken stock or canned, low-sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup canned Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), seeded and chopped
- 5 ounces imported Fontina cheese, cut into thin slices
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons Tomato Sauce or liquid from the canned tomatoes
Trim the stem from the eggplant. Remove strips of peel about 1-inch wide from the eggplant, leaving about half the peel intact and cut the eggplant into1-inch slices. Sprinkle a baking sheet with salt. Arrange the eggplant slices over the salt and sprinkle the tops with salt. Let them stand until both sides are wet, about 30 minutes. Rinse the eggplant under cool running water, drain thoroughly and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wipe the baking sheet clean and oil it generously, using about 3 tablespoons of the oil. Arrange the eggplant on the baking sheet and turn to coat them with oil. Roast until tender and well browned, turning them and rotating them in the pan as necessary, about 20 minutes. Remove and cool. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.
Lay one sage leaf, if using, over the center of each scallopine. Season the scallopine lightly with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the prosciutto is cured with salt. Cover each scallopine with a piece of the prosciutto and tap the prosciutto with the back of a knife so it adheres well to the meat.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy, wide skillet over medium heat. Dredge the scallopine in flour to coat both sides lightly. Tap off excess flour and add as many scallopine to the skillet, prosciutto side down, as will fit without overlapping. Cook just until the prosciutto is light golden, about 2 minutes. (Overcooking will toughen the prosciutto.) Turn and cook until the second side is browned, about 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining scallopine, adding more oil if necessary.
After removing the last scallopine, pour in the remaining tablespoon of oil and scatter the garlic into the skillet. Cook, turning, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. (Lower the heat, if necessary, so the bits of flour that stick to the pan don’t burn while the garlic is browning.) Pour the wine into the skillet, bring to a boil and boil until almost completely evaporated. Pour in the stock and drop in the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Bring to a boil, stir in the chopped tomatoes and boil until the sauce is lightly reduced and glossy, about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, arrange the scallopine side by side in a baking dish. Cover each with eggplant, cutting or tearing the slices as necessary to cover all the scallopine more or less evenly. Top with the Fontina slices, dividing them evenly. Dot the top of each Fontina slice with a dab of tomato sauce. Pour the pan sauce around the scallopine.
Bake until the cheese is melted and lightly browned in places and the sauce is lightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Transfer the scallopine to serving plates, placing two on each. Spoon the sauce—through a strainer if you like—around the scallopine. Decorate the plates with sage leaves if desired.