"How can a man die who has sage in his garden?"
(12th Century proverb)
Sage, or Salvia Officinalis to give it its proper name, is one of my favourite herbs.
I never liked sausage, hated the taste which I found out was sage. But that was dried sage, not fresh. If you've never tasted fresh sage, you've missed out in life.
The name “sage” comes from the Latin verb salveo, meaning “to heal.” This testifies to common sage’s ancient reputation as a healer and life-prolonger. Folklore maintains that when sage flourishes in a garden, the owner’s business will prosper, but when it withers, their business will fail.
Herbalists treasure the herb for its antiseptic and astringent properties, prescribing it for coughs, epilepsy, lethargy, and to cleanse the blood. Sage tea is useful for treating sore throats, mouth ulcers, and laryngitis. Fresh sage leaves rubbed on the teeth are said to clean and whiten them and strengthen the gums, and the tea is recommended as a mouthwash. Sage tea is also recommended to be drunk for colds (add some lemon juice and chopped lemon rind when the leaves are steeping) and for upset stomach due to overconsumption of rich or fatty foods.
In witchcraft, as my character Felicity could tell you, rosemary is a powerful guardian, and a
protector of woman. This wonderful herb is widely used to bring good dreams, keep marriage
faithful and the home peaceful, and for brewing up cleansing and beautifying baths. Rosemary is
also known as Compass Weed, Dew of the Sea, Elf Leaf, Guardrobe, Incensier, Polar Plant, and Sea
Dew. Rosemary is considered masculine, and is associated with the Sun and the element of Fire.
Garden sage lends a smoky, earthy flavor and aroma to a wide range of dishes. Try sage with beans, dried peas, and lentils; cheeses (if you make your own cheese, sage and garlic make a nice addition; sage and chives are tasty baked into cheese biscuits or mixed with cheese spreads); cornbread and polentas; and meats such as bacon, ham, liver, pork, rabbit, and sausages.
Personally, I love the combination of squash and sage.
Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Butter Sauce
- 1 lb fresh pumpkin ravioli (I like the Trader Joe brand)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 6 fresh sage leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 amaretti cookies
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add fresh ravioli and cook according to package directions.
While water boils, in a small saute pan, melt the stick of butter over low heat.
When butter just begins to sizzle and brown, tear the fresh sage leaves into the pan and
fry for 20-30 seconds. Remove butter sauce from the heat and grate in the nutmeg.
Drain pasta and place in a deep platter. Pour butter sauce over the ravioli.
Sprinkle with grated cheese and toasted hazel nuts (if using). Grate the amaretti cookies
over the dish and serve immediately.