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Sage: not just for turkeys?

My mother plants sage as her walkway border, because it's pretty, smells good, and can take a beating. But in the fall, she just lets it freeze to death, because she's not sure what to do with it. What do you do with bushels of sage, besides dry a little for Thanksgiving?

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  1. I like to mix it with ground pork or as a rub for just about any cut of pork.

    1. Sage leaves can be quickly fried in hot oil, then drained and served on top of gnocchi. My brother made a butternut squash lasagna where the bechemel was infused with sage or rosemary. Sage is very good as a seasoning for cannelini beans, in brown butter sauce over pasta, whole leaves stuffed inside roasting chicken, mixed into a compound butter to season and baste roasting poultry or pork.

      4 Replies
      1. re: WCchopper

        Yum! When it's fried to a light crisp I can eat the leaves like potato chips.

        1. re: WCchopper

          Continuing with the butternut squash idea- I make a side dish with butternut- (large cubes, tossed in olive oil, roast), toasted hazelnuts and tossed at the end with sage butter (lots f torm sage melted with butter) and plenty of salt. This also works with pumpkin.

          1. re: cheesemonger

            That sounds like the genesis of a great soup! Maybe a little wedge of St Andre in the bottom of the bowl, puree' the pumpkin or squash, add sage infused cream, top with the hazelnuts........mmmmmm........

            1. re: WCchopper

              Actually my favorite butternut squash soup recipe has sage and it's even easier...I adapted it (from memory) from a Gourmet recipe.
              Saute chopped onions and garlic in a little bit of oil/butter. When nearly done, add chopped fresh sage. Add cubed squash and water (and/or chicken or vegetable stock), and some salt & pepper and a bay leaf). Cook until tender, blend (I use an immersion blender) and finish with some fresh grated parmesean. Simple, but delicious. I like it better than any richer cream-based soup.

        2. I also love sage with pork. Toss some chopped sage with panko crumbs and parmesan and you have a fantastic coating for pork chops. In combination with parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary and lemon, it also makes a great filling for porchetta.

          1. I agree with the pork reommendations, also works great in a white bean gratin

            2 Replies
            1. re: martin1026

              white bean gratin sounds great! how do you make this dish? i'm always trying to think of what else to do with beans to make my toddler eat them.

              1. re: sogi

                I got the receipe from the gourmet cookbook, so I am trying to recall it off the top of my head. Here goes:
                Soak 1lb white beans (I use Great Northern) in cold water over night in the fridge.
                Simmer for a couple of hours, until tender, with some aromatics (a carrot, celery stick, and couple of cloves of garlic).
                When tender, drain beans, be sure to save cooking liquid
                Combine about 1 cup of beans and some cooking liquid (half cup seems right), couple of tablespoons of white wine vinegar, and a couple of table spoons of olive oil in a blender and puree.
                Combine beans and puree in a oven proof baking dish.
                Top with a mixture of 4 oz. chees and 1 cup of bread crumbs and bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for about half an hour.

                I realize now that I don't recall any sage in this dish (although I don't have the recipe in front of me), but next time I'm going to add some when I combine all the beans in the baking dish. You could also toss in some cooked cut-up sausage before baking to make a complete dish.

                This goes great with grilled leg of lamb

            2. Cut kernels off ears of corn. Sautee diced onion in butter; when soft add corn, salt, and pepper. After a couple of minutes add a good amount of chopped fresh sage. That's it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: pikawicca

                I make a similar dish with corn and red bell peppers, lots of sage, plus scallops, stir fried.

              2. Great on boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sauteed in olive oil and butter. S&P the breasts, stick them on with toothpicks, about 3 per breast, Really simple and satisfying.

                1. Fresh: Pork Saltinbocca
                  Slice rounds of pork tenderloin; beat them until thin; top with slice of parma prosciutto and one or two sage leaves (use toothpick to hold). Fry top side down to crisp, flip, deglaze with white wine, add a dab of butter and serve.
                  I concur with white beans sage or rosemary, anything pork; I do turkey rolatini and use sage leaves in the mini stuffing, or turkey cutlets (undreaded) with lots of sage.
                  I have bushels too and I freeze some, and give lots away.

                  1. Drop whole bunches of it into a traditional frito misto pesce. The sage flavours the fish AND tastes amazing quick fried.

                    1. Sage works with most meat, except for some cuts of beef and usually fish. Sage is a natural for any poultry and pork, plus most lamb dishes.

                      I like to season browned butter with sage and serve it over pasta and garnish with cheese.

                      1. I love Marcella Hazan's pork chops braised in tomatoes with sage leaves.

                        1. Add fresh sage leaves to melted butter; let the leaves cook and the butter brown. Serve over fresh torteloni. Quick & satisfying.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: wandasue

                            That's a favorite of mine, though I like it on cheese or mushroom ravioli, and also sprinkle some chopped fresh sage on top as well.

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              mmmmm, yes. sage and butter on ravioli -- cheese-filled, roasted squash-filled, mushroom-filled.

                              i also like a sage and lemon risotto with toasted pine nuts. sage is just so versatile.

                              1. re: LNG212

                                That sounds like a lovely risotto -will have to try it. The lemon sounds particularly nice for the summer somehow.

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  It really is great -- I think the lemon makes it seem somehow lighter which is why it's okay for spring/summer (even though it's probably not any lighter than most veggie risottos). I use both the juice and the zest for a lot of lemony flavor/zing. Toasted pine nuts go in at the end to preserve the texture. I think I've made it both with cheese and without -- both good.

                                  1. re: LNG212

                                    Glad you mentioned the lemon juice b/c it would not have occurred to me to put it in - I was just envisioning the lemon zest - but the juice makes sense.

                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      Especially good if you can get your hands on some Meyer lemons. Add plenty of juice and zest, some butter, and the herbs, but little or no cheese, so as Meyers' floral notes and because they don't have the acidity to cut through a lot of extra richness.

                          2. add about 8 bruised sage leaves and some lemon zest to a bottle of rose wine - let it stand for 24 hours - strain, chill and serve.

                            1. Saute some onions or leeks or shallots in olive oil till almost carmelized, toss in a handful of fresh minced sage, then toss in some proscuitto- diced or torn up into pieces, salt, pepper, toss with pasta and sprinkle with parmesan.
                              We have also used this as a pizza topping with fontina cheese (no tomato sauce).

                              1. Place sage leaves in bottom of warmed bowls. Ladle hot broth and ravioli over it. Garnish with freshly grated reggiano and some minced herbs of your choice.

                                1. Great suggestions. I've done the fried sage thing as a garnish--very nice and tasty. And one year, when we had torrential rains here in Los Angeles and the power went out--I went through the fridge (since stuff was spoiling) and made what we now call "blackout pasta." It was thick pasta with prosciutto, carmelized onions, sun dried tomatoes and sage. I'm sure some of our enthusiasm was due to the circumstances and candles....but it's still one of my favorite pasta dishes......

                                  1. Pound some pork cutlets thin, and salt and peper both sides. Marinate in a mixture of buttermilk and a few dashes of tabasco for an hour (or longer). Mix dry unseasoned, breadcrumbs with fresh chopped sage. Drain the pork, shaking off excess liquid. Press into the breadcrumb mixture, so dry mix adheres to both sides. Pan fry, 2 or 3 minutes per side in hot vegetable oil.
                                    Fry up other whole sage leaves in the hot oil. They will curl up when done. (be sure to fry up plenty of these leaves; they are addictive)
                                    This is a quick meal, and very tasty.

                                    1. i like to freeze tablespoonfulls of compound sage butter (let butter come to room temp, throw in food processor with fresh sage), then grab them out of the freezer as needed, to melt over meats/corn on the cob/pumpernickel/...

                                      1. I made a risotto the other day with pancetta, sauteed mushrooms, corn and sage - it was delicious. The idea came from a Lucques recipe for a sauce with those ingredients (maybe not the pancetta) for gnocci. I also like to make breaded fried sage leaves to nibble on with some cheese - I've posted the recipe before and will try to dig it up.


                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                          I would love that risotto recipe, sounds great. Please post, if you can, Thanks

                                          1. re: mschow

                                            Well, I made it up, and now that I think about it, I didn't use pancetta, but I bet that would have been good! (I cooked almost every night on a 10 day vacation and had been using a lot of bacon/pancetta.) So, I sauteed sliced mushrooms - all I had access to were cremini - would have liked more special ones - in some butter, put aside, then threw in two ears worth of fresh corn off the cob, cooked on high so it got a bit brown in spots, then put the mushrooms back in the pan and took off the heat. Later I made the actual risotto per Marcella's basic recipe, except I used chopped up leeks instead of onion, and used about two leeks, and I also used chicken broth - boxed and diluted a bit. After I added the rice and coated it etc., I added about half a cup of Pinot Gris. When the risotto was just about done I tossed in a lot of julienned sage leaves, stirred, then took off the heat and stirred in the parmesan, mushrooms and corn, and sprinkled a little more sage on top. I guess that if I were using pancetta, I'd probably cook the pancetta ahead of time - in lardons or something - and then use the fat to sautee the leeks etc. and add the crispy pancetta to the risotto at the end.

                                            This was my "last supper" on vacation and I was trying to use up some ingredients but also had run out of a lot of things and we were far away from any market, let alone one w/ great ingredients!

                                        2. I once read a recipe that mentioned roasting potatoes on a bed of sage leaves. Come to think of it, roasting squash or sweet potatoes with sage could work too. Haven't tried it, but what's the downside?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: SarahBethF

                                            None that I can think of, just don't go overboard - sage is very powerful. I'd season the potatoes and use some olive oil, or whatever other oil you prefer to coat them so that the sage has something moist hitting it, otherwise it probably will just crisp up and burn too quickly. But other than that, sounds delish.

                                          2. I like dried ground sage in biscuits. Sprinkling a little thyme, sage and paprika in a cheese sauce is also yummy. It's good with chicken or any other bird--slide whole leaves under the skin before roasting. It's also fab with roasted root veggies.

                                            1. It's wonderful chopped and added to a carbonara

                                              1. Sage is amazing! Last night for dinner, we used part of a bundle of fresh sage. We put it in a dish of flageolet beans (saute garlic, onions, and chanterelles, add a little white wine, add some pieces of smoked salmon, add the flageloets and some torn up sage, add a little more white wine and cream, cover till beans are cooked, keep adjusting wine/cream/salt/pepper/sage until you're happy with it). We also put sage in our roasted squash: just finely chopped sage and lots of butter. We were debating if it would have been better to saute the sage in the butter first.

                                                Sage goes beautifully with roast chicken too, as does tarragon. Sometimes I use them both. It's nice in a squash soup as well.