Thursday, October 6, 2011

sage wisdom

So it's only been a month since the last post, but after posting daily during the Eat Local Challenge, it feels like it's been much longer. I think it feels longer too because shortly after the last post, my hard drive crashed, taking everything with it (at least for now, future recovery is possible). I do have some tasty tidbits to share from the time since the crash, but those will come in snippets later when more time allows. For now, I'm noticing that while some herbs in my spiral garden are waning in the cooler weather, some still doing their thing at about the same pace as summer, the sage plant is going crazy! I know I haven't made daily garden visits, but it did seem like it doubled practically overnight!

So what to do with a bounty of fresh sage? I've been using it all season, chopped into egg dishes, added to salad greens, fried up for a snack, etc. And in this abundance, I've got visions of brown butter sauces and even rolling the leaves into fresh pasta, but what else is there? 

When in doubt, or on a quest, google! I got a kick out of the fact that the first link I followed talked about wanting some ideas, so naturally the author went to Twitter. We all have our muses. I've been on the Chocolate & Zucchini site before and have found great recipes, so it didn't surprise me to find a bounty of information to rival my growing sage crop.  Here is a compilation of suggestions that came from the Twitter query, and if you go to that archival page and scroll down to the comments, you'll find even more to add to the list:

Sage pairings:
- Sage + eggs (i.e. in an omelette)
- Sage + chicken (i.e. roast chicken with sage and lemon inside the cavity)
- Sage + lamb (i.e. in lamb burger patties)
- Sage + fried liver + croutons
- Sage + polenta
- Sage + onion (i.e. in stuffing)
- Sage + white beans (i.e. in white bean hummous or anopen sandwich)
- Sage + apple
- Sage + pineapple
Sage + roasted peanuts

Sage uses:
- Sage butter on gnocchi
- Sage butter on ravioli, especially pumpkin ravioli
- Sage butter on trout
- Sage olive oil with pasta and parmesan
- Put some leaves into pesto with other herbs.
- Add sage to duck sausage.
- Add sage to bean dishes.
- Infuse honey with sage.
- Use with parsley, rosemary and thyme in chicken risotti and soups.
- Add along with fresh parsley, basil, thyme, and rosemary to tomato sauces.
- Deep-fry the leaves and serve as an appetizer, or use as a garnish for poultry, meat dishes, or pasta.

Recipe ideas:
- Sandwich an anchovy between two leaves, batter and fry for great antipasto.
- Feta, prosciutto and sage involtini
- Sage on asparagus with shaved pecorino
- Lay two sage leaves over a long slice of sweet potato and wrap with a slice of prosciutto. Roast for 20 minutes or so with some olive oil (credit to Mark Bittman).
Italian bread and cabbage soup with sage butter
- Roast butternut squash on a thick bed of it.
- Sage and goats' cheese gnocchi
Sweet potato gnocchi with chestnuts and fried sage
- Put leaves on fish, wrap in prosciutto and sear in clarified butter and olive oil; finish in the oven.
- Take half a chicken breast, place 2 or 3 sage leaves on top, wrap in Parma ham, pack in foil, bake at 180°C (360°F). Open top side of package, pour in some dry white wine, and leave open in oven for 20 more minutes or until done.
- Wrap a flattened chicken thigh in prosciutto with a leaf of sage and pan-cook.
- Pan-fry chicken breasts, add sage, red onion, lemon & crème fraîche.
- Sauté chicken livers with shallots and sage, season, then add a little cream. Toss through pappardelle.
- Sauté lamb chops with a sage leaf on each side.
Saltimboca (veal, sage and prosciutto)
Pork, sage and apple burgers
- Mold around a piece of pork sausage (out of casing), batter and fry.
- Sage and cheddar biscuits or pumpkin sage biscuits
- Sage ice cream
- Sage panna cotta

Other uses:
- Freeze in ice cubes for summer drinks.
- Go native and use the dry sage leftovers to purify your kitchen from evil spirits (see smudge sticks).
- Sage tea is a great remedy for sore throat.
- Sage plants give the most beautiful blooms!

WHERE to start?!

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