I love to entertain, whether it’s inviting friends over for a casual meal on a weekend or hosting a get-together for family. Part of the fun is the planning, which includes everything from deciding on the main dish, all the way to a scrumptious dessert and the centerpiece for my table. But, there’s always one area I struggle with: coming up with interesting side dishes. I am always on the look-out for vegetable recipes with a little twist.
Well, I have the answer for this cold weather season – Winter Squash with Fried Sage Leaves. Yes, fried sage leaves. Not only is it a flavorful side dish, but it’s a conversation starter too. Yummy butternut squash is flavored with buttery garlic, and then topped with crisp, flavorful sage leaves. And it's quite simple to make.
Start with a whole butternut squash that weighs about 2 ½ pounds. All you need is a sturdy knife and a vegetable peeler.
Use the sturdy knife to cut both the ends off the squash.
Then use the vegetable peeler to remove the skin.
Stand the squash up on its end and carefully cut in half.
Now remove the seeds. Just so you know, the seeds can be roasted just like pumpkin seeds if you’d like.
Cut the squash into bite-sized cubes. You’ll end up with about 4 cups of cubed squash.
Place the squash in a saucepan with about 1inch of water. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pan and let the squash cook until tender. This takes about 10 to 12 minutes. Then drain well.
While the squash is cooking, fry the sage leaves by heating 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, and the butter and oil mixture is hot, add the sage leaves.
Cook over low heat for about one minute or just until the edges start to turn brown.
Quickly remove the sage leaves from the skillet and place them on paper towels.
If you prefer, the sage leaves can be fried several hours ahead of time. Just leave them on the paper towel and loosely cover them with another paper towel.
Now add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet and cook over medium heat. Add the garlic and the pepper, and cook for a minute or two until the garlic is tender.
Pour the garlic butter mixture over the cooked, drained squash and toss to coat.
Crumble all but a few of the fried sage leaves and sprinkle over the squash.
Garnish with remaining whole fried sage leaves.
Nothing could be simpler. Now sit back and enjoy the conversation. Fried sage leaves? Really? How did you do that?