Monday, October 02, 2006


Sage is used throughout the world but traditionally it is an important herb in the Mediterranean and temperate countries of Europe. It is especially good with roasted white meats such as chicken, and indispensable when roasting pork.
In herbal medicine, sage is used as a restorative herb to arouse the appetite. The Tuscan aqua cotta is a soup of vegetables that relies on sage for its unique flavour. The Tuscans say that their famous bean dish, fagioli all'uccelletto (beans made to taste like birds), seasoned with sage, makes the white beans taste like small feathered game.
Sage's qualities are put to good use in this preparation from Patience Gray's book Honey from a Weed: "If you soak 90g of sage leaves in 1 litre of sherry for 9 days, then drain the liquor, let it rest for a day, and decant it into a bottle through a paper filter, you have an excellent disinfectant mouthwash of Catalan extraction."

Sage is good with Butter; extra virgin olive oil; roast or fried potatoes; potato or spinach and ricotta gnocchi; roast vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato, jerusalem artichokes and carrot; aged cheeses such as parmesan, pecorino and firm goat and sheep cheeses; roast, pan-fried or barbecued meats such as chicken, quail, spatchcock, veal and pork.

Pork and sage involtini
Two of these little rolls should be enough per person for a main course. For 4 people, cut 8 even slices of pork loin about 5mm thick. Place each between pieces of cling wrap and beat gently until they are 2mm (your butcher should do this for you if you prefer). Ask your butcher to thinly slice some pork back fat; you'll need two slices per roll. Lay the pieces of pork loin on the work surface in a line then lay two slices of pork fat on top and finally a few sage leaves; season with a little salt and pepper. Roll the lot, not too tightly, and continue until all 8 are done. Fix each with toothpicks. Place

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