Roasted Asparagus Salad With Fried Sage

"This is a great side dish from The Herbfarm Cookbook. The Herbfarm is a small restaurant, east of Seattle. They grow all of their own herbs all over the property, and use them fresh in their recipes. As it is a small restaurant, they have small dinner parties - most times you have to make reservations about 9 months in advance. Then you are served a wonderful 9-course meal prepared with the freshest herbs in season at the time. I haven't been there yet, but it sounds like a wonderful experience. You can roast the apsaragus ahead of time, but don't dress the spears until ready to serve, since the lemon juice drains their color."
photo by Outta Here photo by Outta Here
photo by Outta Here
Ready In:




  • Preheat oven to 450ºF. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears at the point where they turn pale and tough. If the spears are medium to thick, peel the lower 2/3 of the trimmed spears with a sharp vegetable peeler. Thin spears do not need to be peeled. Place them in a bowl and toss with the chopped sage, olive oil and a light sprinkle of salt. Spread the asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until the spears are slightly limp when you hold them from the bottom, 4-8 minutes depending on their thickness. They will continue to cook once you remove them from the oven. Let cool.
  • Fried Sage:.
  • Heat the oil in a 1 1/2 - 2-quart saucepan. Drop in half of the sage leaves and turn them in the oil with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon. They'll sizzle loudly at first, but if they're dry, they won't splatter. Fry for only 10 to 15 seconds, then remove them to paper towels to drain. Do not let the leaves brown. Fry the remaining sage leaves and sprinkle them all lightly with salt. They should crisp when they cool. The sage can be fried up to 1 day ahead of time; it will stay crisp if stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • Cheese:.
  • Hold a wedge of Parmigiano in your hand and use a sharp vegetable peeler with light pressure to shave thin curls of the cheese into a bowl. You'll want to shave off 2 ounces, about 1 cup.
  • Dressing:.
  • Combine all the dressing ingredients except the olive oil in a small mixing bowl, then whisk in the oil.
  • Assembling the salad:.
  • When ready to serve, toss the asparagus with the dressing in a large bowl. Arrange the asparagus in a fan shape on a serving platter or individual plates. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano shavings and then with the fried sage leaves. If you have a sage plant that's flowering, sprinkle the salad with some of its blossoms.
  • Variation:

  • Warm Roasted Asparagus with Sage Butter:.
  • Roast the asparagus spears as directed. While they are roasting, melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small (8-inch) skillet over medium-low heat. Add the 30 sage leaves and cook, stirring often, until the butter begins to brown slightly and the sage gives off a nutty, toasty aroma, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the finely sliced zest of 1 lemon, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer the asparagus to a warm platter and spoon the sage leaves and lemon butter on top. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano shavings and sage blossoms if available.

Questions & Replies

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  1. WOW! What a great summertime dish. I grilled the asparagus and then chilled it before finishing dish. The fried sage doesn't look like much when taken out of the pan, and I didn't think it would add much, but it is a very subtle addition of flavor, and looked nice on the dish. I also live in the Seattle area and have never been to the Herb Farm (it would take my life savings :) ) but I can have this dish at home! Thanks for posting this one! Made for ZWT III
  2. How can you go wrong with roasted asparagus? This salad was very good with the lemony dressing and the Parmesan cheese garnish...perfect for a hot summer's day salad. My biggest disappointment was with the fried sage leaves. I have always wanted to try making them and had a large harvest of fresh sage to pick at my daughter's house. I wasn't sure what temperature to heat the oil and decided to set it on a medium heat and do the cube of bread test. The leaves sizzled as instructed, but never really got crispy as expected. Maybe my oil wasn't hot enough...maybe I messed up in some unknown way, but neither my DH nor I were impressed with the appearance or the taste of the leaves. Frankly, they were pretty boring. So, I'm just chaulking up the lackluster appearance of the sage leaves to the fact that I'm not an expert chef at the Herbfarm. My daughter and I have made it a goal to go there next year and treat ourselves to a special girl's weekend together. Maybe I'll learn how to make fried sage leaves then.


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