SAGE – Salvia officinalis
HERB OF THE YEAR 2001
Sage is in the Mint family but does not grow with the same invasive characteristics as some of the other mints. In medieval times it was considered to be a cure-all and was thought to give wisdom and improve the memory of those who ate it. There are a number of different varieties of sage: Garden sage, Clary sage, Pineapple sage, Blue sage, Tricolor sage, Golden sage and Purple sage. Sage is a perennial but Pineapple sage is not hardy in our area. Sage prefers full sun, well-drained soil and is drought tolerant once established. Prune early in the Spring to eliminate some of the woody stem. As with most herbs, the more you harvest the bushier the plant becomes.
The culinary uses of Sage are many: young leaves snipped in salads, to flavor poultry or pork stuffing, sausage, fritters, cheese, egg dishes, soups, yeast breads, most meats and fish, cooked vegetables such as carrots, squash, asparagus, eggplant, snap beans, corn, potatoes, cabbage, lentils and shell beans. I use sage in stuffing, stuffed in the cavity of whole poultry, with potatoes wrapped in foil and put on the grill, on pork roast and chops, in egg roll pasta, chicken salad and dried in bouquets and wreaths.
FOCACCIA WITH SAGE (From HERBS IN THE KITCHEN by Carolyn Dill and Susan Belsinger)
1 recipe Pizza Dough, risen overnight in the refrigerator (enough to make 2 – 13 inch pizzas)
1 medium-sized sweet onion like Vidalia, sliced thin
1/3 cup olive oil
2 dozen fresh sage leaves, chopped
Remove the dough from the refrigerator in the morning and punch it down. Let it rise in a cool place for a few hours, or as long as all day. About 2 hours before baking, punch the dough down again and divide it into two portions. About 30 minutes before baking, shape dough into rectangles, about 12 by 9 inches with rounded corners, on lightly oiled baking pans. Preheat the oven to 425°, with a baking stone if you have one, on the bottom rack.
Just before baking, make depressions in the dough with thumbs. Scatter the sage & onion over the dough and season lightly with salt. Drizzle the dough with the olive oil, letting some collect in the depressions. Place the baking pans on the middle rack of the oven. Bake about 15 minutes. Brush some of the oil over the tops twice during the first 5 minutes of baking. When they are done, they will be light golden brown and crisp on the outside.
1 potato per person – par-boiled
salt and pepper
1 long piece of heavy duty aluminum foil
6 inch to 8 inch branch of sage
Cut potatoes in 1 inch slices but not all of the way through. They will fan out. Line up potatoes on foil. Dot with butter and salt and pepper to taste. Place SAGE on potato. Close foil by meeting opposite sides and rolling closed. Close ends and put on grill while you are grilling the meat (this nice long package tucks to the back of the grill so there is room for other things). Nice with chicken, beef or ham.
1 whole chicken breast, split
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 Tablespoon water
4 ounces spaghetti
2 Tablespoons flour
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup half and half or milk
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon
3 Tablespoons butter
1 can (2 oz.) mushroom pieces, drained
1/2 Tablespoon fresh snipped parsley
1 teaspoon fresh snipped sage
1 teaspoon fresh snipped tarragon
Arrange chicken breast skin-side-up in 8-inch square microwave-safe baking dish. Cover with waxed paper. Microwave on high 7 to 8 minutes or until chicken is tender, rotating dish once. Set aside to cool. Cut carrot into matchstick pieces, 1 inch in length. Combine carrot and water in 1-quart microwave-safe casserole. Cover with casserole lid. Microwave on high for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or until tender; set aside.
Cook spaghetti as directed on package. Drain and rinse with warm water. Set aside. While spaghetti cooks, remove skin and bones from chicken; cut meat into bite-sized pieces.
Combine flour and water; blend well. Add to carrots along with cooking juices from chicken. Stir in half and half, wine and chicken bouillon. Microwave on high, uncovered, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens, stirring once or twice. Add butter, chicken, herbs and mushrooms; stir lightly. Put cooked spaghetti in the casserole. Stir sauce into spaghetti. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
This makes 9 cups, enough for a 12-pound turkey
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup minced onion
1 1/2 cups chopped celery (use the leaves, too)
9 to 10 cups soft bread cubes
1 apple, cored and chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground sage OR 1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh sage, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme OR 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
In a large skillet, melt butter and cook and stir onions and celery until tender. Stir in about 1/3 of the bread cubes. Put the rest of the bread cubes in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, then add the contents of the skillet and toss well. Add enough boiling water to make it the consistency that you desire (1 to 2 cups). Stuff the rinsed out turkey just before you are ready to roast. NOTE: I often make individual stuffing servings by putting about 1/3 cup of stuffing/dressing into greased muffin tins. Bake at 350° F for about 30 minutes. They come out with a crispy top.
SAGE & APPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large tart apples, cored, peeled, sliced thin and tossed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice
12 to 15 fresh sage leaves
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups nonfat buttermilk
8 sage leaves, stacked and cut crosswise into very thin chiffonade (about 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh)
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar, stir until it is dissolved; it should look like thick chocolate syrup. Continue to cook until the mixture just starts to bubble, then remove promptly from the heat.
Arrange the apple slice and the whole sage leaves close together in the skillet on top of the butter and sugar. Arrange extra apple slices around the sides o the skillet. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg together in a bowl.
In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter, add the sugar and blend well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the buttermilk and mix until blended.
Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and the sage chiffonade; beat until the batter is just mixed. Stir to be sure the batter is smooth. Pour the batter over the apples in the skillet.
Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 350° F and bake for about 25 minutes more. The cake is done when it is golden brown, the edges pull slightly from the sides and a tester comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and carefully run a metal spatula around the edges. Place a cake plate over the
skillet and carefully turn the cake out onto the plate. It should come out easily; rearrange any apple slices or sage
leaves if they get out of place. If there is any excess topping in the skillet, scrape it onto the cake. Let the cake
cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. It is good served slightly warm or at room temperature.