The word sage is based on the latin salvus, meaning “sane” or “safe.” Indeed, across the ages, this herb’s fuzzy leaves have been the source of all sorts of healing products. Because of its potent taste, sage is often neglected by the common cook but rightly used, it brings a very specific deliciousness to all sorts of dishes. Our friend Laure suggests this site (the Spruce EATS) for ideas re how to store and use our wonderful organic sage leaves, including 3 recipes:
Laure’s Sage List – 12/08/2020
Laure also drew up a short list of classic sage recipes for us to share here. Because her list was from a website that was not so accessible, using it as inspiration, we did some research of our own, searching for readily available online versions. Here goes. May you also be inspired.
- In the beginning, there was Mark Bittman’s Pasta with Butter, Sage and Parmesan (the recipe is no 3 in the referenced list of 4 classic quick pasta recipes from The Guardian)… In other words, this is one of our all-time favourite sage-based recipes on the farm. Bittman, a former columnist for the New York Times, is an award-winning journalist, food writer, and author of many books. We have an ear-marked copy of his original How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food, where we first came across this recipe. FYI, we use olive oil instead of butter when we make it. Our kids will remember it always as “the best macaroni and cheese ever.”
- Braised Chicken with Apple and Sage is the second recipe on Laure’s list. We found a simple, easy version on Epicurious. Please note the comments from KELLYQSKI_EPICURIOUS FROM LAKES OF MAINE, who proposed the following adjustments to the basic recipe, which we wholeheartedly endorse (our own philosophy re herbs and spices is that more is almost always better) — highlighting is ours: Having read reviews reporting bland and not enough sauce, I increased the sauce and seasonings. I made this to rave reviews from family! I used 2 cups of broth, 1/2 cup of cider vinegar, 2 tsp fresh thyme, 2 tsp fresh sage, 1 minced garlic clove, a hearty dash of cayenne, and a hearty dash of coriander. I used 3 apples, but could have done with 2 (large). I put a sage leaf and a few thyme leaves under the skin, then browned in cast iron with a smaller cast iron on top to both flatten the chicken, crisp the skin, and to contain the splatter. I cooked 10-12 minutes, then removed. After browning the shallots and garlic, I added all the sauce ingredients, delaying apples until I added back the chicken, fearing they would be mush. Fabulous!
- Recipe no. 3, White Bean Soup with Sage and Sausage, comes from Blue Kitchen, a Chicago-based food blog for home cooks by Terry Boyd. His simple, eclectic cooking focuses on fresh ingredients, big flavours and a cheerful willingness to borrow ideas and techniques from all over the world. A frequent contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times and the Christian Science Monitor, his recipes have also appeared on the Bon Appétit and (unfortunately, now-defunct) Saveur websites. His is comfort food with a capital ‘C’.
- The next recipe is actually a 2-in-1 combo, courtesy of Canadian Living. The first is Roasted Acorn Squash with Maple and Sage — which combines sage with acorn squash, another item we grow on the farm for which people often request recipe ideas. The olive-oil-butter-sage combo works without the maple syrup, too. 3 tbsps of olive oil combined with 3 tbsps butter (or all olive oil, if you like olive oil as much as we do) can be used as an alternate basting mix. Once you’ve roasted the squash as per the first recipe, they suggest filling it with Wild Rice Stuffing, where sage is once again a key ingredient (amongst many other, delicious, items). Each recipe complements the other perfectly, but they can be put to other, separate, uses, too.
- This Sage and Cumin Pork Tenderloin recipe proposes a unique herb/spice combination (sage and cumin), with paprika and cayenne pepper thrown in to add some bite. A nicely marinated roast (the recipe calls for 2 in fact), cooked on the grill rather than in the oven.
- And finally, an old-fashioned Creamy Butternut Squash & Sage Soup, from Reader’s Digest (!), with some carrot and sweet potato thrown in to boost the orange quotient. Enjoy.