Photograph by Nassima Rothaker
Crispy sage leaves are one of the simplest, yet delicious, snacks. They are also great as a garnish in salads, pastas, pizzas and soups. Select sage leaves that are large and upright. To store bunches in the fridge, dampen some kitchen towel and wrap it around the bottom of the stalks, then cover the entire bunch with clingfilm. This will prolong the life of any herbs and protect them from bruising. Rouille is traditionally a thick, garlicky mayonnaise. Here, I use sweet potato as the main thickener.
Crispy Sage Leaves & Sweet Potato Skins with Smoked Paprika Rouille
Active time: 2 hrs
Making the Roast Garlic Purée
- 6 heads garlic
- 50ml olive oil
- Sea salt
- Preheat oven to 180℃.
- Slice the tops of the garlic heads until the cloves are just exposed. Place on a sheet of foil, on a baking sheet or roasting tray. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle with the salt. Gather the foil over the garlic then place the tray in the oven for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes of cooking, open the foil.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool so you can hold the garlic heads. Remove the outer layer of the head of garlic then squeeze out the roasted garlic into a blender jug. Add the remaining oil, with 2 tablespoons of warm water, and blend until smooth. Season to taste then refrigerate for up to 1 month.
Making the Tempura Batter
- 80g plain flour
- 80g cornflour
- Pinch of table salt
- 200ml soda water
- Whisk the flours and salt together. Add the soda water and whisk until smooth.
Making the Rouille
- 2 small sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoon Roast Garlic Purée (from earlier step)
- 40g aquafaba
- Zest of 1/4 lemon
- 1/4 red chilli, finely diced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
- Freshly milled black pepper
- 150ml olive oil
- Sea salt
- For the rouille, preheat the oven to 180℃.
- Prick the sweet potato with a fork then place in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes until completely soft. Remove from the oven, slice in half and allow to sit for 20 minutes, for the steam to escape. Scoop out the flesh of the sweet potato. Cut the skin into pieces the same size as the sage leaves and set aside for making the tempura.
- Place the sweet potato flesh in a blender, or a beaker for a stick blender, and add the garlic purée, aquafaba, lemon juice and zest, red chilli, sweet smoked paprika and a good twist of black pepper. Blend together until smooth then slowly drizzle the oil, blending well after each addition, until all the oil has been used. Season with salt then set aside.
Making the Sage Leaves
- Sweet potato skin (from earlier step)
- 20 - 24 large sage leaves
- Tempura batter (from earlier step)
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Heat the vegetable oil in your deep fryer, or in a medium saucepan so it reaches 3cm in depth, to 170℃. Dip each sage leaf in the tempura batter and carefully drop in the hot oil. Fry until crispy, approximately 1-2 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen towel, season with table salt. Repeat with all the sage leaves, and the sweet potato skin.
Serve the sage leaves and sweet potato skin whilst hot, with the rouille.