Who would have thought you could stuff and fry sage leaves? Not I, until a few months ago, when I ate them at a restaurant in London. Since then, I’ve been counting the days until the leaves on our sage plants were large enough to pick. With the plants now at their peak, the timing was perfect. They’re so easy to make, it’s not really much of a recipe, but I’ll take you through the steps.
First, smush some anchovies over one leaf. Please don’t tell me you don’t like anchovies – this is so darn delicious and addictive it will make you a convert.
Then cover with another leaf of the same size and press down hard.
Hold the sage leaf “sandwich” by the stem and swipe each side of the leaf in a batter. The batter is made with only flour and sparkling water (San Pellegrino is my water of choice). There’s no need for baking powder or eggs. Just mix the flour and water until you have a consistency like thick pancake batter.
Have some vegetable oil heating in a skillet while you prepare the leaves, then when it’s good and hot, place the leaves carefully into the hot oil. Fry on one side until golden, then flip and do the same with the other side of the leaf.
While I was at it, I also stuffed and fried some zucchini blossoms I got from my son and daughter-in-law’s garden. I posted the “recipe” online way back in the early months of this blog, more than a decade ago. But why not repeat it now since you may have access to some of these lovely, edible flowers. It’s best to pick them first thing in the morning, when the blossoms are wide open and you can pull out the stamen (and any critters that may be inside).
Cut a piece of mozzarella cheese and push it down into the center of the flower, along with a small piece of anchovy. Press the flower shut and twist it a little near the end of the flower. It won’t be completely sealed, but don’t worry because after you dip it into the batter (the same one you use for the sage leaves), the batter will form a seal and keep the stuffing from oozing out.
Fry in some hot, deep vegetable oil, turning once, until they’re golden all around.
Dig In. These are so crunchy and delicious, it’s a good thing we didn’t pick more sage leaves or blossoms, or we’d have eaten ourselves sick!
For other ideas on what to do with zucchini blossoms, click here.
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- sage leaves
- anchovies (salted, in oil)
- zucchini blossoms
- mozzarella cheese
- sparkling water
- a pinch of salt
- vegetable oil
- Just mix enough flour and enough sparkling water until you get a mixture that’s the consistency of pancake batter. It’s best to let it sit at least 15 minutes to help make it smoother.
- FOR THE ZUCCHINI BLOSSOMS:
- Pull the stamen from the inside of the zucchini blossoms.
- Cut a piece of mozzarella into a small strip and place it inside the zucchini blossom, along with a salted anchovy.
- Dip the flowers into the batter, and deep fry in hot oil.
- FOR THE SAGE LEAVES:
- Smush some anchovies onto one side of a sage leaf.
- Cover with a sage leaf of a similar size and press down.
- Holding the leaves by the stem, swish it in the batter, covering both sides of the leaves.
- Fry in hot, deep oil.