About the SFMGA

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Wise Herb

By Susi Keller, Master Gardener

Garden Sage, Salvia officinalis, not only survives but even thrives at the north side of my house, where I splashed it with an occasional bucket of water during the first year to get it established. By now it is practically left to its own devices, but it still provides me with fresh sage leaves throughout the year. Several other plants thrive in different, more sunny locations with little or no soil amendment and little supplemental water.

But its thriftiness is not the only reason I love this plant. Its silver foliage adds color and structure to the garden. Hummingbirds visit the pretty purple flowers and bees love them. Its medicinal and culinary uses are well known since antiquity. And I love to use it in the kitchen.

Saltimbocca alla Romana Recipe

From my native country, where sage is included in almost every recipe for chicken, veal, pork and more.

For four persons, you need 8 small veal cutlets pounded thin, 4 slices of Italian prosciutto, 8 sage leaves, 1 tablspoon of butter, salt, pepper, and approximately ¼ cup water or dry white wine. On each slice of veal, place a slice of prosciutto and a sage leaf and hold everything together with a toothpick. Place the assembled slices in a single layer in a pan in which the butter has come to a sizzling, and brown them on each side. Salt and pepper them to taste—remembering that Italian prosciutto is quite salty already—and let them cook for no more than six minutes.

Transfer the Saltimbocca to a serving plate with the sage leaf on top and without taking off the toothpick. Add the water or the wine to the pan and let it come to a boil before pouring this light sauce onto the meat and serve hot.