Monday, June 20, 2011

Devilish Details

"Powdermilk Biscuits give shy persons the strength to get up and do what needs to be done."
- Garrison Keillor, A Prairie Home Companion

Like the biscuit mix that comes in the big blue box with a picture of the biscuit on the front, writing has forced me to peek over the rim of my comfortable rut (yes, it's quite deep—I need to stand on tippytoe just to peer over the top) and occasionally even climb out. That's because, appearances to the contrary, I'm actually quite a cautious, verging on introverted, person.

That cautiousness extends to trying to cook foods I'm not familiar with, something this blog has been helpful with since it gives me a reason to buy those gorgeous but unfamiliar bunches of vegetables I see at the farmers' markets. Which in turn forces me to come up with new recipes. See what I mean?

It happened just the other day when I'd told a friend I'd bring deviled eggs to her kitchen-warming party. Doesn't sound that intimidating, does it? Well, the problem was that I'd also gotten it into my head that fried sage leaves would be the perfect detail to finish them, along with a sprinkling of sage flowers for color.

The trouble was that my usual recipe for deviled eggs calls for anchovies and green olives, and I didn't think that the sage would be compatible with the salty, fishy, albeit terrific, flavors. So I hit upon curry and mustard for the eggs, and set about trying to figure out how to fry the sage leaves so they'd be crispy and lend just a hint of sage.

Turns out all you have to do is find a sturdy sage leaf (above right), heat some oil until it's quite hot, add the sage leaves and fry them for just a few seconds per side, then pull them out and drain them on paper towels. All that's left is to assemble the deviled eggs as usual, top with a small leaf and let the raves ensue. Makes all the effort to climb out of that rut worthwhile, no?

Curry Mustard Deviled Eggs with Fried Sage Leaves

6 hard-boiled eggs
3/4 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. dijon mustard, either smooth or seeded
1/4 c. mayonnaise (approx.)
2 Tbsp. canola oil
12 sage leaves
Smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton) and sage flowers, if available, for garnish

Halve hard-boiled eggs, removing yolks and placing them in a small mixing bowl. Mash with fork and stir together. Add curry powder, mustard and mayonnaise and combine, stirring until there are no lumps. Fill halves of whites with yolk mixture.

In frying pan, heat oil until it shimmers but doesn't smoke (I always flick a few drops of water into the oil…when it spatters it's hot enough). Add sage leaves, a few at a time, and fry for a few seconds on each side. Like making crostini in the broiler, the key is to not turn away because they'll burn the instant you do. So stand there and wait. Remove to paper towel to drain and cool. Sprinkle eggs with pimenton, top each with a sage leaf and scatter sage flowers on the platter.


Clare Carver said...

ummm these look fab - I'm gonna give them a try -- xx c

Kathleen Bauer said...

Let me know what you think!