From the backyard to the kitchen of Judy Masters, Special Projects – Trinity School
If you’ve ever planted sage, you are well aware of its durability. While other herbs (and random free-range weeds) are freezing their buds off, sage will not be bested by a little frost… or snow… or an ice storm. Because it is so prolific and SO hearty, I dub sage a WEED.
My stand of sage is so bold that I had to contain it in a bricked-in corner, giving it only the oregano as company. Long after the oregano had gone dormant, the sage was standing strong… so strong, in fact, that I cut nearly a stockpot full to dry for burning and still have a sizeable stand left for cooking.
You might recognize the word “sagacious.” It means smart. There are other synonyms, but they all mean the same thing (as synonyms are wont to do.) Sage is (anecdotally, of course, because we can’t make claims) said to boost mental acuity, among other wonderful benefits. Sage advice is smart… see what I did there?!
Obviously, some of my sage stand made an appearance in the Thanksgiving repast, but that’s not all, folks. I LOVE a good Sage Brown Butter. Herbs in oil have superpowers, and this is no exception. We get the taste in our food and the benefits of the herb’s properties, plus the neutral fat of the butter.
Here is my recipe:
- ¼ lb. organic unsalted butter (Cut this into pieces, so it will melt evenly and brown all at once. Salted butter can get foamy when you heat it, so I prefer unsalted.)
- ½ C fresh sage leaves – chopped coarsely
- 1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic (I like to smash the cloves to flavor the butter, not have bits in the butter but that’s a matter of taste.)
- Dash of Celtic or Kosher salt (Himalayan salt will be too gritty. Don’t do it. You’ve been warned.)
- Black or White pepper, ground, to taste (optional… I don’t love pepper but a slight dash of white pepper in this is excellent.)
This is fabulous on most varieties of broiled fish, game bird, chicken, grits, mashed potatoes, steaks and chops, sauteed mushrooms, squash, varieties of ravioli and other pasta dishes. I’ve even drizzled it on my steamed spinach, and I’m not above dipping a hearty sourdough bread in it, served with a glass of red wine and a mixed greens salad.
- Gather your ingredients.
- Over medium heat, melt the butter in a ceramic, glass or stainless steel saucepan.
- Add garlic (smashed or chopped).
- Stir gently for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the sage and continue stirring until the butter turns light brown. There should be no smoking… from you or the butter. If your butter starts to smoke, your heat is too high and your sage will cook, as opposed to infusing the butter with flavor.
- As soon as the butter is a light golden brown and has a nutty, earthy smell, pour it into a room-temperature container so it doesn’t continue to cook in the hot pan.
Remember not to overlook the gourmet buffet beneath your feet!