Salvia fritta (Fried sage leaves)
- Preparation time: 20 minutes.
- Cooking time: 20 minutes.
- A bunch of fresh sage leaves.
- Anchovy fillets.
- Extra-virgin olive oil.
Select the largest of the sage leaves and wash and dry them carefully. Sandwich two at a time together with an anchovy fillet in the middle. Press together and dip into the butter mix. Fry in the hot oil, and leave to dry on kitchen paper. Serve just warm. The medicinal properties of the sage plant have long been known, and the leaves are renowned for their beneficial effect on tooth enamel. The leaves used in this recipe should be young and fresh; the best time to pick them is in late spring when they have just newly sprouted.
In 1545, Cosimo I founded the Giardino dei Semplici (Botanical and Herb Garden) so that the plants and aromatic herbs used both for cooking and for medicinal purposes would always be readily available. It still exists today in Via La Pira and is open to the public.