Yesterday, sitting in the almost sunshine and waiting for the little bus to bring Graham home from preschool, my thoughts went something like this. “I need to write that post about the fried sage leaves. Mmmm. Fried sage leaves. God, I hate making those things but they are so incredibly good. I have all the ingredients on hand and of course I have tons of sage… Wait a minute – where is my sage?”
It seems our little garden, seen in its infancy here, is just on the verge of exploding. Now in its third summer, everything seems to be growing in bigger and more glorious than ever. Or maybe it’s just the indecent amount of rain we have gotten this spring. The way things are going, my poor sage is going to get trampled by other flashier plants and flowers. Good thing we have several plants.
I have made these fried sage leaves several times and they are one of Randy’s all time favorite things. As stated above, they are not one of my favorites to make but I sure love to eat them. Frying is tricky for me. Because I don’t do it all that often, I find it intimidating. These are not deep-fried – I can literally count on one hand the number of times I have deep-fried – but still working with hot oil and batter makes me nervous. Inevitably, I start when the oil is not quite hot enough and then end up with a few soggy leaves that need to be tossed. This batter makes enough for plenty of leaves though and I even had to send Randy out in the rain to pick more.
One Year Ago: Spicy Chickpeas with Ginger and Kale and Lime Yogurt Sauce
Crisp Sage Tempura
Adapted from Food & Wine
Makes about 32
This doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that would keep well, but they do indeed keep overnight and retain their crunch.
½ cup rice flour
1½ tsp. poppy seeds
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ cup cold club soda
1 tbsp. cold water
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 bunch sage leaves (about 32), stems trimmed to ¼ inch
In a medium bowl, mix the rice flour with the poppy seeds, ½ tsp. salt and the pepper. Whisk in the club soda and cold water. Let the batter rest for 20 minutes.
Heat ½-inch of oil in a small skillet just until shimmering. Holding each sage leaf by the stem, dip it into the batter to coat both sides. Add the the oil and fry over moderately high heat until golden, about 30 seconds. (DT: I turned each leaf over to make sure they were cooked on both sides.) Drain on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Can be stored in an airtight container overnight.)