Fried Sage Leaves
Fried sage leaves are one of the easiest appetizers you can serve to open a summer Tuscan meal. Look in your pantry: Do you have flour? What about beer? Water, salt, and black pepper are a given. Aside from those ingredients, all you need are meaty fresh sage leaves, the biggest you can find. That’s it!
Make a batter thick enough to coat the leaves, then deep-fry each one until puffed and golden. Sprinkle with flaky salt and serve piping hot with chilled wine. These are usually paired with other fried delicacies, such as zucchini flowers or leftover slices of stale bread.
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons cold beer
- About 30 fresh sage leaves
- About 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
First, make the batter. In a bowl, mix together the flour and salt, then slowly add the water, stirring with a whisk to remove any lumps. When the water has been completely incorporated, whisk in the cold beer, little by little in order to avoid creating lumps. The batter should be quite thick, so that when you dip the sage leaves into it, it covers them with a thin film. Let the batter rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Heat two inches of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Check if the temperature is right by dipping the handle of a wooden spoon in it: if it is immediately surrounded by tiny bubbles, the oil is ready to fry the sage leaves.
When the oil is hot, dip the sage leaves in the cold batter, gently shake off the excess batter, and lay the leaves, well-spaced apart, into the skillet. Fry for two minutes per side, until crisp, puffed, and golden. Fry the leaves in batches, so they don’t stick together.
Remove the sage leaves from the oil, lay them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain, and sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy the sage leaves while they are still hot.