The idea for this antipasto came from ChgoJohn from the Bartolini kitchens. It was served to him in a restaurant in Florence, and he blogged about it. It is simply two sage leaves with anchovies in between, dipped in batter, and then fried. The result was better than I could have imagined! It has a great flavor and crispy texture, and is an antipasto I’ll most definitely make again! Thanks for sharing, John!
I am lucky enough to be able to purchase fresh anchovies, but you can also make this with canned or salted anchovies. Sage is a very easy herb to grow in your own herb garden. If it doesn’t freeze too much, you can keep the same plant for years and it will keep growing and provide a virtually endless supply of aromatic sage leaves. For an even crispier result I’ve used vodka in the batter, but you can also use cold water, preferably carbonated. Both the alcohol and the carbonated water will cause the batter to have more bubbles. Another trick for a lighter crispier texture is to use part rice flour or corn starch instead of regular flour.
12 large sage leaves
6 anchovies (preferably fresh, but canned or salted also works)
1 lemon wedge
For the batter
250 ml (1 cup) vodka (cheap vodka is fine)
6 Tbsp farina migliorata per friggere, or4 Tbsp flour, 2 Tbsp rice flour (or corn starch) and 1 tsp baking powder, mixed together
oil for frying
When using salted anchovies, soak them in water to remove some of the salt. When using canned anchovies, drain them and pat dry with paper towels.
Sort the sage leaves by length to make pairs that approximately have the same size.
We enjoyed this with a nice glass of prosecco. An aromatic Italian dry white would also work.
Two years ago I blogged about baking ‘real’ pizza in a home oven by using an aluminum pizza plate. I even dared to write about this in Italian, which resulted in some reactions from Italians who thought it was crazy that a Dutchman would tell them how to make pizza ;-) The trick actually works, although the oven we now have on our boat that can actually go up as high as 500ºC/900ºF works even better.