There it was. Delicately placed between her thumb and index finger. A freshly fried sage leaf. Our eyes met. I hesitated a second too long and saw that my option for fleeing had itself fled right out the window. There was nothing left to do but take a long, deep breath, straighten myself up, and eat the damn thing.
I don’t know why I fight it. My mom has never steered me wrong. Well, there was that one Marmite incident… But when she told me I would love it, I didn’t believe her. A fried leaf? I had envisioned it being greasy and horribly bitter… But no, it was incredible! So flavorful, and with a delicate crunch… I was hooked.
These days, I’ll put fried sage leaves on just about anything. I picked up a beautiful sugar pie pumpkin at the farmers market this weekend and decided to whip up some soup topped with none other than… fried sage leaves!
After simmering big pieces of pumpkin flesh in vegetable stock, I let it cool slightly before pureeing it all in the blender until smooth. After adding it back to the pot, I seasoned it with a little sea salt, freshly-ground nutmeg, cinnamon, a small amount of brown sugar (not to make it sweet, just to balance the flavor), the juice from one orange (previously picked from my dad’s tree), and a splash of Triple Sec, an orange-flavored liqueur. Served with fried sage leaves and toasted, cracked hazelnuts.