Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fresh Herbs Series: Sage Butter

Velvety leaves of sage

Some restaurants have the habit of bringing bread to the table while the hungry guests are waiting for their orders. The choice differs from place to place. Here are some examples:
-         just bread
-         slices of bread in a plastic bag (Why in plastic??)
-         various rolls
-         various warm rolls

Sometimes the bread comes with an accompaniment of some sort to make the waiting a bit more adventurous. The choice may include:
-         butter
-         olive oil
-         black olive tapenade
-         herb butter
-         a mix of the above

The places that serve fresh home-made bread or a variety of (mini)rolls are my favourite. The smell of the inside of the bread provides the clue. Dipping pieces of bread into olive oil while waiting for your plate of pasta may take the conversation to the olive tree groves, olive harvest, oil pressing, oil tasting, the debate who produces the best olive oil, why Greece exports so little, the olive oil “mafia”, who likes green or black olives, …

Any place that serves herb butter that makes my mind search in the taste bank somewhere in my brain guessing and looking for the name of the herb that has been used in the particular butter definitely raises the chance of a higher tip and verbal praise at the end of the meal.

One of my favourite herb butters is the one with sage.  I find it a real pity that the velvety touch of fresh sage leaves gets lost in any way of cooking and preparing sage.

There is no exact recipe, just use the ingredients as you feel is right for your taste.
As a guideline for a small portion of sage butter:
50 g butter
10-15 leaves of sage of all sizes
Juice of one slice of lemon
A pinch of salt

Bring butter to room temperature.
Finely chop the sage and mix the sage, lemon juice and salt with butter.
Place the herb butter into a small bowl or if making a bigger quantity form into a roll in the cling film. Refrigerate.

Enjoy with bread just like that or in a sandwich.
Herb butter with fresh sage (Est. salveivõi, Ger. Salbei Butter)