There is a saying in Rome that fried food is so good, even a fried sole (as in sole of a shoe) would taste good. And who am I to disagree?
Basically … one can fry just about any vegetable or vegetable leaf … all you need is some batter and some oil.
Fried sage leaves are very tasty and super cool as an accompaniment to the evening’s aperitivo. Try them some time …
For the batter: put about 6 tablespoons of flour into a mixing bowl and pour some ice cubes into it. When they melt, use a whisk to mix it all and add a little sparkling water, as much as is required for a silky-smooth batter. (This batter differs somewhat from a tempura batter … because the latter is hardly whisked at all.)
Lovely and crisp … and could be mistaken for tempura, which it isn’t. It is ‘salvia fritta’. As well as being a good nibble for cocktails, the salvia fritta can complement many a main dish as an unusual garnish.
A propos of tempura, by the way .. .:
“The cooking technique which is said to owe its name to a shrimp is Japanese deep frying–tempura–variously ascribed to the influence of Jesuit missionaries or Portuguese explorers. They were supposed to have explained to the Japanese that they could not eat meat on the fast days described in ecclasiastical Latin as the quatuor tempora, the “four times” included in the Ember days, and must have fish. The Japanese thought tempora the key word in this context, and are said to have applied it first to shrimp and then to other fish or vegetables cooked in the same fashion. I do not vouch for the story, I simply pass it on.”
—Food, Waverley Root [Smithmark:New York] 1980 (p. 458)