Fried Sage Leaves (Salvia Fritta)

>> Monday, November 4, 2013


Fried Sage Leaves (Salvia Fritta)
Thanks to Lawrence Rice for capturing these luscious leaves. :)

Just as the last leaves fall and the first snows start, a sage bush in the herb garden is still pumping out leaves. That's probably why sage is such a traditional part of Thanksgiving seasonings. In Tuscany, we found that they're in love with sage, too. We swooned over a small side dish of fried sage leaves that accompanied a rosemary-scented porterhouse steak. Now we're fried-sage evangelists.

Sage is a powerful herb, but the light crust and quick frying transforms the leaves into a mellow crispy treat, kind of like a flavored potato chip. These are wonderful alongside any kind of meat, or as a good snack or appetizer. You might find yourself whipping up a batch to sprinkle over a vegetable or grain dish, too.

Actually, we have trouble getting them to the table, since we like to munch on them while we're putting the finishing touches on dinner. Yes, they're that good.

Ingredients

24 large fresh sage leaves
1 egg
2 tbsp water
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling before serving
Vegetable oil for frying

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Rinse the sage leaves and pat them dry with paper towels.

Whisk together the egg and water in a shallow bowl. In a plate, stir together the flour and salt. Layer a platter with paper towels to drain the cooked leaves. 

Pour about 1 inch of oil into a large frying pan and heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact. Working quickly in small batches, dip the leaves into the egg mixture, let the excess drain off, then dip them into the flour and shake off the excess. Drop them into the oil and cook until barely golden - do not let them brown, as this will make them taste bitter.

Drain the cooked leaves on the paper toweling, and set the platter in the oven to keep them warm while you finish the rest of the leaves. 

Sprinkle with salt before serving.

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