OISHII / Pork saltimbocca, easy to make with an authentic taste

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Pork saltimbocca

By Yukako Oishi / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterPork saltimbocca

In this column, chefs and cooking experts share recipes that are easy to prepare at home.

This is Italian chef Ryuichi Hamasaki’s last installment in this column. Hamasaki introduces an easy way to prepare pork saltimbocca, a dish typically made using grilled veal topped with dry-cured ham. The dish is served with a lemon and butter sauce.

According to Hamasaki, saltimbocca is a popular homemade dish in Italy.

“Traditionally, the dish is made with veal leg. The meat is cooked together with dry-cured ham and sage leaves for flavor. But I will use more easily obtainable ingredients for this recipe,” said Hamasaki, who replaces veal with pork loin. The recipe itself is quite simple, but Hamasaki’s ingenuity enhances both the taste and appearance of the dish.

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  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

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  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    A dish based on a traditional Italian recipe

“To make pork loin taste like veal leg, which has less fat, you should remove the rind from the meat. Lightly pound the meat to create a uniform thickness and texture,” he said. Chop the sage leaves and sprinkle on top of the meat.

Do not merely place the ham on the meat, but spread it so the edges stick out slightly, then wrap it around meat so they are together.

“Place the flat side of a kitchen knife over the ham and slide it along the side of the meat to the back. In this way, the meat is cleanly wrapped by the ham,” Hamasaki said.

Since dry-cured ham is salty there is no need to add salt. “You can increase the amount of ham, but be aware that when cooked, this will increase the saltiness of the dish,” he said.

Coat with strong flour and cook the ham side first until light brown, and turn the meat to cook through. The sauce is basically made of white wine and butter, but Hamasaki adds lemon juice. While heating, the strong flour melts to thicken the sauce. Serve the dish with leafy vegetables.

The crispy and savory dry-cured ham has a robust salty taste. The sourness of the lemon is offset by the butter, giving the sauce a refreshing quality.

“If pork loin is not available, you can use pork legs or chicken breasts,” he said.

Even though prepared quickly, the taste is still authentic, and it looks great. It’s the type of dish you will want to make many times.

Recipe for saltimbocca

Ingredients (serves 2):

4 pork loin pieces (total of 160 grams after cutting off rind)

4 dry-cured ham slices

4 sage leaves

15 grams butter

4 tbsp white wine

½ lemon

Strong flour

Extra virgin olive oil

Red wine vinegar

Leafy vegetables such as arugula, curly lettuce


1. Remove the rind from the pork, lightly pound with the back of a kitchen knife to achieve equal thickness throughout. Chop the sage leaves and place on the surface of the meat.

2. Spread a slice of dry-cured ham over the pork. Fold the ham sticking out over the edges under the meat to wrap it. Lightly coat both sides with strong flour.

3. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a pan, then cook the meat with the ham side down over high heat. When this side becomes brown, turn it over and cook the meat over medium heat until cooked through.

4. Remove the oil in the pan with paper towel, and add white wine, butter and lemon juice. Coat the meat with the sauce by shaking the pan.

5. Serve on a plate and pour the sauce from the pan over it. As desired, add leafy vegetables mixed with olive oil, red wine vinegar and a touch of salt.

Traditional Italian recipe

In Italian households the dish is usually prepared in the following way:

Cut meat into bite-size pieces, and lay a slice of dry-cured ham and sage leaf over the meat. Pinion the ingredients together with a toothpick. Coat with strong flour and flash-fry in olive oil. Add two tablespoons of white wine, 10 grams of butter and one or two tablespoons of bouillon and mix up with the meat.

The sauce brings out the flavor and richness of the meat.

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