Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Simple and Sage

In my cast of characters known as, “This Week’s Fresh Herbs,” basil, flat-leaf parsley and cilantro are clearly the stars of the show with rosemary and thyme in a supporting role.

I always have some herbage going on in my veg bin. Especially the flat-leaf parsley. That guy can freshen up anything.

But recently, I went with an unknown in my world - sage. The green, soft leaves of the sage seemed bright and enticing so I decided to give them a whirl. I came up with an easy dish called Veal Cutlets in Sage Sauce. It took no more than 15 minutes to prepare. And, it was really delish. A member of the mint family, sage is quite aromatic. The veal had a lot of flavor, and the herb was not overpowering at all.

To accompany the veal, I made a Lidia Bastianich rice dish called, Rice with Fresh Sage.

It was simple to make and does not require the constant stirring that is involved with a traditional risotto. You just pop a lid on and call it a day.

Veal Cutlets in Sage Sauce
Makes 4 servings

1 lb. veal cutlets, thin sliced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
12 sage leaves
¾ cup dry white wine

Place flour in a large dish.

Season veal cutlets with salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge the veal in the flour.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown veal cutlets on both sides. About 3 minutes per side. You may need to cook the veal in two batches if it doesn’t all fit in the pan. Remove veal from pan and place in a dish. Cover with aluminum to keep warm.

Return skillet to burner. Lower heat to medium. Add butter. Add sage leaves. Cook for about two minutes, until fragrant. Add white wine. Bring to a simmer and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a flat-edged wooden spoon. Simmer for about 4 minutes so that sauce reduces a bit.

Return veal to pan with sauce to heat through.

Serve immediately.

Rice with Fresh Sage
From “Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy”
By Lidia Bastianich

Serves 6 or more as a first course or side dish

4 Tbsp. butter
12 large fresh sage leaves
5 cups hot water or light stock, plus more if needed
2 ½ tsp. kosher salt
2 cups Italian short-grain rice, such as Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

For finishing:
2 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
½ cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for passing

Recommended equipment: A heavy saucepan, such as enameled cast iron, 10 inches wide, 3-to-4 quart capacity, with a cover

Melt 4 Tbsp. butter in the saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is foaming, scatter the sage leaves in the pan and heat for a minute or so, just until they are sizzling. Pour in 5 cups of hot water or stock, and stir in the salt. Raise the heat, and bring the liquid to a boil, then stir in the rice and bring back to a boil.

Cover the pan, and lower the heat so the water is bubbling gently. Cook for 13 to 14 minutes, then check the rice and adjust the consistency if needed. At this point, too, stir in the scallions, to cook for the last minute or two, until the rice is creamy and al dente.

When the rice is fully cooked, turn off the heat, drop in the butter pieces, and stir vigorously until thoroughly amalgamated. Stir in the ½ cup grated cheese, spoon the rice into warm pasta bowls, and serve immediately, passing additional grated cheese at the table.

Please note: The Jersey Girl used fresh chives instead of scallions because she forgot to buy scallions at the market. She should have made a list.


  1. I am going to try this...looks wonderful and I grow fresh herbs and sometimes I have a hard time finding ideas with sage.


  2. I am totally envious that you successfully garden. Everything I try to grow dies a fast but visibly painful death.