Sage Advice

Sage plant

Sage a go-go in the backyard

So, what exactly does one do with an excess of sage?

I ponder this question, knowing that – lovely though it is – sage is not usually called for in anything other than fairly small amounts. As I look at my flourishing sage plant, however, it seems a shame not to be using its bounty of leaves in larger quantities.

So, as oft times before, I ask the internet what to do, and the answer returns, dipped deliciously in beer batter and fried. The future of my sage leaves is golden.

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Beer-battered Sage Leaves

Fried sage leaves

While I have fried plain sage leaves before, it had never occurred to me to dip them in batter first. Done this way, they make for a tasty nibble to be enjoyed along with a glass of beer or whatever-you’re-having-yourself.

The recipe I’ve used is adapted slightly from one I found here, which notes that you might find deep-fried sage leaves as part of an Italian fried platter or frittura mista.

The quantity of batter is enough to coat quite a large number of sage leaves which will, in turn, provide nibbles for a large group. Of course you can always make a smaller amount or use leftover batter to coat anything else you might like to deep fry.

You’ll need:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • small pinch of baking soda
  • approx. 200ml pale ale
  • plenty of olive oil for frying
  • 1 egg white
  • 60-80 large sage leaves, with stems if possible, washed and patted dry

You’ll also need:

  • You can use a deep fat fryer if you have one, otherwise use a deep frying pan or wok for this.

The Steps:

  • Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium-sized bowl, then add the beer and mix gently to a (fairly runny) batter, taking care to remove any lumps.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • When you’re ready to start frying, fill your pan with oil to a depth of about 2-3cm and place over a medium-high heat.
  • While the oil is heating, add a pinch of salt to the egg white and whisk until stiff peaks form, then gently fold the egg white into the chilled batter.
  • Check to see that the oil is hot enough to start frying: if you have a suitable thermometer, look for a temperature of about 180C, otherwise a drop of batter should sizzle immediately and brown quickly. If the oil is smoking, remove from the heat to let it cool a bit before proceeding.
  • Now, working in small batches, dip the sage leaves into the batter and fry, turning once, until crisped up and golden, 1-2 minutes. Remove with a tongs or slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Serve hot, perhaps with the rest of that beer that you had to open for the batter.

The Variations:

  • You could, of course, put some additional flavouring into the batter – a little hit of chilli might work well.

The Results:

  • Enough beer-battered sage leaves for 10 or so people to nibble on.
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Comments
  • This is awesome! My sage plant is growing quickly, and all I could see was a huge amount of chicken saltimbocca in my future. (I love the dish, but not every day!) :-)

  • Wow – what a lovely idea. I love sage (fresh only – hate the dried stuff) but we also have oodles of it and there is just not a huge call for it in our kitchen. I think it will make a very nice snack!

  • Mindy: I know exactly what you mean! Much as I love sage there are relatively few dishes that I end up using it in.

    Móna: give them a whirl and see what you think – I’d still probably want to have them alongside other not-so-fried snacks (but I’d probably say that about anything fried in a lot of oil!)

  • I. Must. Try. This.

    It looks heavenly!

  • So, Kavey, I guess you heard that little voice saying ‘Eat me, eat me’ then? :D

  • Looks so good!

  • What a great way to use up a sage plant!

  • Fried sage is amazing.

  • Stacey: a crispy batter can do wonders for so many things…

    Kat: my thoughts exactly!

    Vanessa: delighted you think so, I reckoned it was pretty good alright :)

  • These look delicious – and so fatty! Gotta love fat!

  • And sure we all need a little bit of fat in our lives Sarah!

  • I never had any idea that you could fry leaves! It makes sense, I guess, but it never would have crossed my mind! They look super yummy, though :)

  • Hi Kathryn, I’ve fried the leaves without batter before (and done like that, they’re a great garnish for a creamy pasta sauce) but adding the batter was a new thing for me – glad to have another way of using the leaves up!

  • Lovely! Tempura herbs:)Could do some along w/onion rings w/your yumm-o beer batter, ma’am!

  • Ooh yes, onion rings in the beer batter, I like it Jenni! In fact, why not sage ‘n’ onion rings? Could be on to something there :)

  • Amazing recipe idea! We’d love for you to share with us at dishfolio.com!

  • Thanks Lacey, will do!

  • Genius! I’ll have to post a pic of my sage plant; it’s in a bucket because I know it’s trying to take over the world.

  • Maybe there’s some secret sage plot, Lisa – just gotta get ‘em covered in batter before we’re completely overrun :D

  • i just made these and they are FANTASTIC! i also added a dash of onion and garlic powder and a pinch of paprika. thank you for the great idea!!

  • Yay Kate! I’m so glad to hear that and love the sound of the additions you’ve made. Thanks so much for letting me know.

  • Love this. I love frying sage and sprinkling it on top of just about everything. Beer battered would be spectacular and I love the beer batter sage onion ring idea.

  • […] with lots of fresh sage, garlic and onion – something which, despite my cultivation of a flourishing sage bush, I had never before thought to make. Still, there’s a first time for everything and, with […]

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