Simon Gault: What to do with sage


There are so many ways to enjoy sage in your kitchen. It is delicious paired with chicken, schnitzel or over a freshly made pasta.

For something a little bit different, take two sage leaves and sandwich a small piece of anchovy between them.

Squash the leaves together, dip in a bit of cornflour, then some tempura batter (a mix of cornflour and soda water) and deep fry. They’ll be crispy and salty, and you’ll to want to eat a whole bowl of them!

One of my favourite dishes is sage and garlic chicken. I learnt it from a little old lady in Italy. She had to pop out for a while, so she led me over to a pot and showed me what she had prepared for dinner.

Inside were all these chicken breasts piled up – enough for 10 people at least! She told me all I needed to do was put the pot in the oven, turn it on and the chicken would steam in its own juices. It’s good stuff.

As well as the typical green, the leaves of other sage varieties also come in purple, rose, cream and yellow.

Sage & garlic chicken

  • 6 x 180g chicken breasts, skin removed

  • 45ml extra virgin olive oil, per chicken breast

  • Salt and pepper, to season

  • 1 cup flour

  • 30 sage leaves

  • 6 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 60g butter, sliced

  • 60ml white wine (chardonnay)

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Cut the chicken breasts butterfly style, so they are almost in half, but leave attached on one side so they can be opened out.

  2. In a frying pan, heat the oil until shimmering. Season the breasts and coat with flour. Sear one breast at a time, 10 seconds each side. Clean the pan after each one and heat new oil. Place into a casserole dish, deep enough to contain all the breasts stacked one on top of the other.

  3. Sandwich five leaves of sage, four slices of garlic and one slice of butter between each successive breast as it is stacked into the dish. Finally, pour the wine over the chicken and cover with a lid or foil. If required, this can remain in the refrigerator until ready to cook. One hour prior to cooking, remove and allow breasts to return to room temperature.

  4. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.

Ken says:

Ken Nicoll of Total Garden Care keeps Simon’s garden in order.

“You can find sage at a garden centre, but try starting your own plant by cutting off a shoot from a friend’s bush. They do grow well from seed, but develop slowly – it might be 18 months before you can start using it! The best time to plant is September to December, so keep your cuttings in a pot for now. Sage will grow almost anywhere in full sun and doesn’t like being in moist soil. Plant it with other plants that can do well with minimal watering.”

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