In this series, we spotlight the boundless potential of a single ingredient.
By Jane Larkworthy
Chef: Jane Larkworthy
Job Description: Beauty Editor at Large, The Cut
Cooking Aesthetic in 3 Words: Haphazard, messy, brave
Favorite Savory Ingredient: Garlic
Favorite Sweet Ingredient: Mint
Food philosophy: For us, food brings people together. Food is celebration. And there is absolutely NO excuse for food to be boring.
Beauty Mantra: Sleep a lot, wear sunscreen, take as many baths as you can, and avoid magnifying mirrors.
Until a few years ago, I'd never given much thought to lemons in my cooking. When I did use it, it was like a teaspoon, and it came from a bottle. Then I managed to wrangle a favorite soup recipe from one of our favorite restaurants in the Berkshires, Six Depot Roastery. Their white bean soup has such a magnificent flavor and I had a big "D'Oh!" moment when I saw that it came from lemon zest. Since then, we've started to zest lots of things. It's like our citrus garlic. This recipe is a new favorite, and a hint of lemon juice ups it from amazing to incredible if we do say so ourselves.
Fried Sage Leaves
bunch of fresh sage leaves — the bigger, the better
4 heaping tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
½ cup water
⅛ cup beer
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
½ cup olive oil
1 lemon, halved
In a medium-sized bowl, blend flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly stir in water, followed by beer, constantly stirring to avoid clumps. Once batter is well-blended, stir in the cheese. Heat oil in large skillet over medium flame. Once oil is heated, dip sage leaves, one by one, into batter, making sure its coated entirely, then delicately place into skillet. Cook each side for about 5 to 7 minutes before carefully turning over with tongs. Leaves should be firmed from the batter and bear a crisp appearance on each side before removing. Place on large area covered in doubled (or tripled) paper towels and let dry for up to a minute before squeezing a hit of lemon juice on them. Sprinkle with a tiny amount of sea salt, then serve immediately.