Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


When everything else succumbs to drought, sage thrives.

Apparently it grows through rocks around the Mediterranean, so no wonder it hasn't turned its toes up like so many of its fellow herbs in my garden. (At the beach house, there is a five-foot rosemary bush that hasn't seen a drop of water in ages. There would be enough rosemary on it to make a lamb or mutton roast of every sheep in Australia. Possibly New Zealand.)

So if you're drought-affected, plant sage or rosemary. (Of course, once you do, it will rain for a fortnight. It's like washing your car or lighting a cigarette at the bus stop. Also, have you noticed that when you try to look at a street directory in the car, a red light will immediately turn green?)

Yet again, I digress.

Gnocchi with sage butter.

Take a kilogram and a half of old potatoes, cook them in their jackets and then peel them and rice the flesh. Mound this on your work surface and make a crater, maybe even a caldera, and tip into this the yolks of three eggs, a handful of flour and the same of parmesan. Combine, folding inwards. Add flour to mitigate wetness. It all depends on your potatoes. Old, floury ones work well.

Once you have a nice consistency, roll out and cut sections about an inch or so long, depending on how you like your gnocchi. Personally, I am a large, freeform gnocchi person. You, on the other hand, may prefer the neat, even, fork-tined type. So you've rolled them and cut them or shaped them. Now let them stand. Stet.

While the gnocchi rest, melt a couple of tablespoonsful of butter in a pot and brown it. Place some sage leaves in the butter and switch off the heat.

Cook the gnocchi. Place them carefully into gently boiling salted and oiled water and lift out, equally carefully, when they float about on the surface. Drain and plate. Pour sage butter over, then scatter more parmesan.

Accompany with strong leaves; rocket, sorrel etc. Wine? I prefer a red with this. Even in this heat.


Spike said...


jo said...

Sage butter makes me weep.
When i am buried I wish that to be the oil they annoint my body with before I am buried. I adore it.
Do you I have never make gnocchi? Gnudi, pinci pici, pasta mata, tortellini, orchiette, but not gnocchi. Perhaps it is time to recctify that.

lucette said...

I'm envious of your rosemary bush. I plant rosemary every year, and then wait in suspense over the winter to see if it survives. The longest-lived one I had lasted 2 years (and it was Arp, which is supposed to be hardier).
Sage on the other hand has always done well in my garden; sometimes I can even pick leaves in the winter (although not now--it's buried under a foot plus of snow).

kitchen hand said...

I enjoyed it, Spike!

Jo, conversely, I rarely make all those others; but gnocchi frequently.

Lucette, I'm not sure what the variety is but it sure is hardy. The soil is sandy.

neil said...

Is it just me or does sage wilt for everyone else as soon as it's picked? Though it doesn't seem to affect the flavour at all.