One of the things I love about our new place is the sheer quantity of fresh produce, herbs, etc that I am constantly finding. The previous owners were all about utilizing every square inch of their yard and I am grateful for it. I was out picking weeds the other morning, and realized that far from being a pest, the unruly shrub growing up near the porch was a bush of spearmint the size of a large sheep. The greens filling in the ground cover over by the backyard lane? Gorgeous Swiss chard. As I type this there is a fruit bearing grapevine creeping up my front steps hell-bent on colonizing the stoop for its own. It’s crazy.
Less charmingly, our yard is home to approximately 11 billion sage plants. We have sage three-feet-deep lining our deck, we have sage almost serving as a privacy hedge in the front yard, and we have sage chest high surrounding the barn. Frankly, I think the sage at the barn might be crucial to its structural integrity?It’s hard to say. It smells amazing, but I’m already planning where we’ll be thinning it out as we start to rework the yard.
In the meantime, I’ve been thinking of other ways to use all this dank herb (sorry), but have been coming up short. How many smudge sticks can you really make? This house is clean, Carol Anne. But then I remembered the crispy sage at Copper Onion and Eva down in Salt Lake. Probably one of my favorite things in the whole world. As far as I’m concerned, you can just put crispy sage on anything. Put it on everything. You just heat some olive oil in a pan to medium-high heat, and then fry each leaf for about three seconds (just before it stops fizzing), then, while they dry on paper towels sprinkle them lightly with coarse salt. They’re like the world’s most delicate potato chips, and I love crushing them between the roof of my mouth and tongue.
For dinner last night I made mushroom and pine nut raviolis with a butternut squash sauce — all store-bought, don’t be ridiculous — and the sage added crunch and a perfect savory counterpoint to the soft, sweet ravioli. It was so good. Now I’m just trying to think of other applications (besides, like, a giant bowl of fried leaves that I just eat without hands like a rabbit). I think a little would be perfect added with some whipped cream to peach cobbler?