Make These Bacon Sage Leaves in a Deep Fryer

Roasted herbs can add texture, flavor, and color to mashed potatoes, casseroles and toppings, but deeply frying the little leaves in hot oil is not a task most people would like to add to their turkey day to-do list. But if you have a deep fat fryer, you can chop up a whole bunch of these super savory sage and bacon leaves in about three minutes.

I originally planned to coat my seasonally suitable leaves with cooking spray, but the canister I bought (just this morning!) Refused to work as advertised, spraying when it was supposed to spray. Rather than giving up (or heading back to the store), I decided to dip into my stock of bacon fat. I tossed the sage leaves into about a teaspoon of the melted fat, letting them absorb the salted fat. Then I seasoned them with MSG and white pepper and put them in the deep fat fryer drawer for two minutes, until they were crispy and flavorful.

Forget side dishes: these leaves are a snack themselves. (I’ve eaten about 10 sage leaves with fatty bacon, like potato chips, and I’ll do it again.) They’re crispy, salty, and (thanks to the combination of MSG and meat fat) filled with a ton of umami. While I could eat a whole bowl unaccompanied and unadorned, I can’t wait to crush them on mashed potatoes.

Air-fried – or, sorry, ” tiny tabletop convection oven ” – bacon- lard sage leaves can be whipped in about three minutes, but you’re somewhat limited by the size of your deep fat fryer basket. You should keep the leaves on a single layer, although some of them will flutter a little during cooking because they are leaves and the leaves tend to flutter in strong winds.

If you have a tiny deep fryer like mine, you can cook these bad guys very easily as (again) they only take about three minutes from start to finish. You can even make them ahead of time; just store them in an airtight container with a paper towel between the layers of leaves. To make crispy lard sage leaves you will need:

  • Fresh sage leaves, as much as you like
  • Bacon lubricant, about a teaspoon per 6-10 leaves (sage leaves vary slightly in size, mistakenly due to extra lubrication).
  • MSG
  • white pepper

Remove fresh sage from the stem and rinse the leaves in cold water if you think they need cleaning (I usually just brush mine off with a paper towel). If you’re washing yours, dry them completely on paper towels before proceeding.

When you have a supply of clean, dry sage leaves, place them in a bowl and drizzle with melted (but not hot) bacon fat, stirring with your hands to coat them. Sage absorbs oil easily and becomes greasy to the touch. Season each leaf with a generous sprinkle of MSG and white pepper, then cook them in one layer for two minutes in a deep fat fryer set at 400 ℉. Serve immediately as a side dish (or leafy snack) or store in an airtight container at room temperature (with paper towels between each layer of sage) until you’re ready to use them.


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