Shrimp Saltimbocca Bites are a miniature, seafood version of everyone’s favorite chicken dish. They’re perfect to start a small dinner party or feed a crowd at a fancy cocktail party.
As a blogger, obviously, it’s a given that I love to cook, but I think the part about it that excites me the most is turning some of my favorite classic dishes into something completely different and unique, but still recognizable. They are, after all, classic for a reason, flavor profiles that work in the most harmonious of ways, and can stand the test of time, but could maybe use a little facelift, like this Fish Reuben, this Creamy Marsala Rigatoni and this Spanakopita-Stuffed Chicken Burger.
These Shrimp Saltimbocca Bites are also a perfect example of just that. I took all of the classic ingredients of a chicken saltimbocca — prosciutto, butter, lemon and sage – and condensed it down in to a small bite fit for a fancy dinner party or intimate cocktail gathering.
Shrimp is a welcomed departure from plain chicken, and just another way to slightly alter the flavor profile without taking too much away from the original dish. I like to use frozen, 31-40 count shrimp versus fresh, since I live in land-locked Kansas and can’t find the freshest of seafood year round. I just run them under cool to warm water until they’re defrosted, then pat them dry before cooking.
The other ingredient I swapped out was the prosciutto; because I wanted each bite to be perfectly circular, I decided to go with thinly sliced pancetta instead, which provides the perfect flat surface for the shrimp to lay on, and only tastes minutely different than crispy prosciutto. You can usually find it packaged at any grocery store, but I like to get it straight from the deli counter where I can tell them how thin to slice it and how many slices I want. It’s way more economical this way, plus I feel like it’s fresher.
I’m kind of obsessed with the way the shrimp are prepared, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to do this every time I cook shrimp from now until eternity. To me, saltimbocca isn’t saltimbocca without a little bit of butter, so instead of roasting the shrimp with olive oil, I put a few tablespoons of butter on a sheet pan, popped it in to the oven and once it melted and started to brown, pulled it out, threw the shrimp on along with the chopped sage, tossed everything together and then popped it back in to the oven to cook the shrimp. I just love the way the oven evenly cooks the shrimp in barely any time at all, and you don’t have to make a mess on the stove.
Once the shrimp start to curl up and turn bright pink, they’re pulled out, tossed with some lemon juice and then nestled on to the crispy pancetta slices. I like to dust them with a little bit of parmesan cheese before serving, but they really don’t need it.
Shrimp Saltimbocca Bites, my version of a classic.
- 15 thin slices of pancetta
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped sage
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 15 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pancetta slices on a large, rimmed baking sheet covered with a silpat. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. (Be sure to watch them carefully as they can burn easily. Also, they will crisp up as they dry on paper towel,) Drain on paper towel.
- When the pancetta has just a few minutes left to cook, add butter to a small sheet pan. Place the pan in the oven under or over the pancetta until the butter has melted and started to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Take the pan out and add the sage, butter, salt and a pinch of pepper. Toss to combine. Place the pan back in the oven and cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and toss in lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place one shrimp on each crispy piece of pancetta. Spoon any excess sage and sauce over the shrimp.
- Sprinkle with a bit of grated parmesan.