While flipping through the Williams-Sonoma Rustic Italian cookbook we spotted this recipe for Foglie Di Salvia Fritte or, if like us you don’t speak Italian, Fried Sage Leaves with Balsamic Drizzle. In the book they call them an antipasti. Personally, we can picture them gracing the tops of pasta or meat dishes. One thing is for sure- they were so delicious. Almost like an Italian tempura.
To make these you will need sage leaves with the stem on. Most of the sage plants in our garden did not survive the winter last year but we had one stem that was showing signs of life at the beginning of spring. By last week it had grown and sprouted loads of leaves which we harvested, rolled in a wet paper towel and took with us for our week away. When I remembered that we had them with us (today), I pulled them out without much expectation but was happily surprised to see that they looked just like the day I picked them. Wet paper towels = gems.
First we made the batter from 1 cup of all-purpose flour, fine sea salt, 1 cup of sparkling water and 1 egg. The flour and salt were mixed together and then the water was added in a drizzle as the mixture was whisked. This was to avoid lumping. The egg was then added in and we were left with a semi-thick but liquid batter. The sage leaves were dipped in and the extra batter was allowed to drip off of each leaf. The leaves were added to a semi shallow frying pan which had hot vegetable oil in it. The leaves were cooked for about 2 minutes per side until golden brown. When removed they were sprinkled with sea salt and then drizzled with a good balsamic.
Can we talk about how crunchy and delicious they were? Delicate and light. Flavorful but not overpowering as sage can sometimes be. We ate them all as they came out of the pan. Next time we will make a lot more and use them for a dinner- we’d love to top a nice piece of pork or a pasta dish with them.