I absolutely love cooking with fresh herbs, which is why I grow many of them in my garden in the summer. Sage is one of my favorite for various reasons and the most important one is that I don’t have to replant it every year. Many herbs are perennials, but also many of them don’t survive the harsh Wisconsin winter in my garden, except for sage and mint, they happen to be in the same herb family I found out.
I am not quite sure how long ago I planted my sage, probably about 5 years ago. In early spring I buy all the herbs at the market and plant them in the same spot in my garden. I started with a tiny sage plant and it grew beautifully. Every winter my sage plant gets dull, once spring comes around it starts waking up with beautiful, aromatic, and velvety leafs. It seems to continue to grow every year. In late spring to early summer it blooms beautiful blue-purple flowers that are edible too, their flavor is a very subtle version of the leaf.
Sage is one of those herbs that you don’t eat raw like many other herbs. Its flavor is very pungent when raw, which is why you don’t want to add it as garnish to a meal. However, the flowers have a delicate taste that makes a beautiful garnish in salads or sauces. Our favorite way to eat sage is fried in butter, then added as a garnish to many foods. Sage is perfect with fish, pork or chicken. I throw some pieces of the woody branches on the coals for a smoky aromatic flavor to my grilled chicken. I add sage leaves to the water when poaching eggs for an extra layer of flavor. I also add sage when cooking beans, anyway, there are many different uses for sage, and the fact that it is one of my most beautiful plants makes it an absolute favorite.
Sage flowers also make a gorgeous center piece for my patio table, but this time I am dipping them in a light batter, and deep frying them to make a tasty appetizer. Use the stem to hold this crunchy finger food, dip it in your favorite sauce, and nibble on the flowers and leaves for a lightly perfumed delight that everyone will love. Let’s get to it!
12 4-inch lengths of sage flowers, the whole stems with blossoms and leaves
Oil for frying
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients with a whisk. In a small bowl whisk wet ingredients, add slowly to dry ingredients and continue whisking to form a light batter.
Dip sage flowers into the batter. Fry in hot oil 2 to 3 minutes, turning once, until puffed and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!
Note: use the stem to hold and eat the flowers and leaves off, discard the stem.