Butter Fried Sage Blossoms, Co-starring Pasta, Chicken, and Lemon

Two of the garden items that survived through this past winter were the thyme and the sage. As a result, both have gotten an early start on their growing, and it’s gotten to the point where the sage plant is absolutely thriving, reaching halfway to my hip and having developed light green and purple blossoms.

Now, I knew that you could cook zucchini blossoms, but I had no idea what to do with sage blossoms. I tried eating one off of the plant, but the flavor was a little too intense in its raw state – like a little grenade of sage flavor. So, I decided to try the best approach to cooking any untried food item – fry the suckers in butter.

I picked a handful of sage blossoms and some sage leaves and washed them, setting them aside to dry. I figured the best delivery device for fried sage in butter would be pasta, so I made some spaghetti and, seeing that I was already cooking anyway, threw some chicken breasts in for good measure.

I’ll start with the chicken, which is a variation of a recipe that I’ve seen before using veal. If you want everything to come together at the end, you should also start a pot of water boiling for your pasta before making the chicken, and squeeze and zest your lemons.

Chicken with Sage and Ham

2 chicken breasts, pounded slightly to uniform thickness (or as close as uniform as you can)
2 sage leaves
2 slices of ham
2 toothpicks
Flour, salt, pepper
Olive oil and butter

Get yer chicken ready! Take your flattish chicken breasts and add salt and pepper to both sides. Place a sage leaf on each, then cover with a slice of ham. Use the toothpicks to stitch the ham to the chicken breast, then dust both sides of each chicken breast with flour.

Heat a saute pan over medium heat until hot-hot-hot. Put about two tablespoons of olive oil in, swirl to coat, then add a small pat of butter, also swirling to coat. Wait a bit so that the butter begins to darken ever so slightly, then lay your chicken down in the pan. Saute without moving (the chicken, not you) for 5 to 7 minutes, depending on thickness (again, the chicken, not you), then carefully turn and cook the other side for another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to a clean plate and cover with foil.

Pasta with Sage Blossoms, Lemon, and Brown Butter

8 oz pasta
Sage leaves and blossoms
3 Tbs unsalted butter (more or less)
Juice and zest of one lemon
Black pepper

Drop your pasta into your boiling water and start your timer. You want to time this so that the pasta is done and in a colander by the time you begin the sauce.

As the pasta cooks, melt the butter in the same pan that you used for the chicken until it begins to brown slightly, then add the sage blossoms and leaves and step back about four feet, because the moisture in the sage will create some hot fat splatters. Fry the sage for about 30 seconds, then add the lemon juice and zest.

Leaving the heat on low, add your drained pasta to the sauce and toss it around. The pasta will absorb the butter sauce beautifully. Turn off the heat, add a few grindings of black pepper, and turn the whole thing out into a serving bowl.

Serve the chicken on a bed of the pasta, with lemon halves on the side.