Along with the crocuses, up come new buds on 'artemisia frigida', better known as wild sage.
Aromatic, especially when crushed, sage is a silver-grey-green member of the mint family.
Gather these lacy leaves from local hilltops and make this warm and very fragrant Sage Focaccia Bread.
It is great for camping, picnics and backpacking as it is dense, flat and will compact easily.
You can make the sponge the night before or earlier in the day and allow it to rise until you are ready to proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Cut or tear the Focaccia Bread into pieces and spread with a hummus flavoured with Yukon sage.
As for my "sage" cooking advice, cook with the freshest ingredients available and take the time to enjoy the results. Use local wild foods, such as freshly caught fish, berries and native herbs to experience a unique northern flavour in your cooking this summer.
Sage Focaccia Bread
For the sponge:
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon dry yeast
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Yukon sage
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon coarse salt for topping
1 or 2 tablespoons crushed sage for topping
- Into a large bowl, make initial sponge by mixing together 1/2 cup of warm water and one teaspoon of yeast.
- Let sit for a few minutes until foamy.
- Stir in 3/4 cup of flour, cover and place in warm spot for 20 minutes or up to several hours.
- Into a second bowl, place one cup of warm water and one teaspoon of yeast.
- Cover and let stand for a few minutes until mixture is foamy.
- Stir into sponge (from the first step) and whisk in 1/4 cup of olive oil and one cup of flour.
- Blend in two tablespoons of wild sage.
- In a separate bowl, mix together two teaspoons of salt and two cups of flour and continue mixing until well blended.
- Dump dough out onto slightly floured work surface and begin to knead.
- Continue kneading for about three to five minutes.
- Place dough into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for about one hour.
- Oil a cookie sheet (11" x 17").
- Punch down dough and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Dough will be quite soft.
- With oiled hands, press the focaccia dough into a baking sheet.
- Cover with plastic wrap and tea towel and allow to rise again for about 15 minutes.
- With plastic wrap still on, press the dough again flattening and spreading.
- Allow to rise for about one hour.
- Pre-heat oven to 425°F.
- With plastic wrap still on, press your fingers into the dough to create depressions or "dimples" typical of focaccia.
- Remove plastic wrap and drizzle dough with two tablespoons of olive oil, remaining one tablespoon of sage and one teaspoon of coarse salt.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until golden.
Delicious with Hummus.
1 cup canned or cooked garbanzo beans
1 clove (1/4 teaspoon) minced garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup tahini
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped or ¼ teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried Yukon sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
- If using canned garbanzo beans, rinse first in cold water to remove some of the salt.
- Into a food processor or blender, mix all of the ingredients and blend until a paste consistency is reached.
- Scrape down sides of bowl occasionally.
Yield = 1 1/2 cups