white asparagus with sage butter

Thyme to be Sage with Buttered Asparagus

This past week I was so ashamed of the garden. I had run away from it for too long. The weather didn’t give me an excuse, either, as the sun was shining. It was time to JUST DO IT! My back has been killing me since (the computer doesn’t help, either!) but the effort was worth it.  The cherry tree is now covered in netting (yeh, as if that will prevent the wood pigeons from pecking at them!) and the raspberries are well on their way.

chives mint herb garden


The only part of the garden that’s in full bloom is the wee herb corner. Once the major weeds disappeared, I discovered we actually had flowers: on the chives, lemon thyme, and they were popping out in their full glory on the sage plants.

sage in flower


Just seeing the word, sage, makes me laugh.  In French, sage means wise (if you’re referring to an adult), and good (when you’re referring to a child). I keep meaning to ask my husband how this works; I mean, at what point will it no longer be wise to shout, “Soyez sage!” as you drop the kids off at a party?

sage flowers close-up

Delicious and stunning sage flowers

I’ve never seen such gorgeous looking flowers that you can eat!  I just had to do something with them. When I did my usual weekly shop at the market, I also had to asparagus myself.  Well, that’s what they kept shouting at the market: “Aspergez-vous!”, “Aspergez-vous!”

asparagus and strawberries at the French market

Asparagus season at the French market

The French normally serve asparagus with hollandaise sauce, or toss it in butter.  With such beautiful and delicate sage flowers, I wanted an excuse to use them for friends coming to dinner. Nothing fancy. What could be easier than tossing them in butter infused with sage and decorating them with the edible flowers?

white asparagus with sage butter

White asparagus tossed in sage butter

For the sage butter, it’s not even a recipe – so not worth putting it as a recipe post on the site. It’s a no-brainer! Just take about 1/3 pack of unsalted butter, melt it over the most gentle heat you can, along with several sage leaves and a few leaves that have been chopped finely.  Stir it now and again with a wooden spoon – still on a very low heat – then discard the large leaves.  The butter is beautifully perfumed.  Toss the asparagus (peeled, trimmed & steamed in boiling water for about 5 minutes) in the butter and serve.  Et voilà!

Just so the green asparagus didn’t feel left out, I did the same again for more guests.  The sage flowers were a real talking point.  They really taste of sage and it went well with the asparagus.

Asparagus, sage butter and flowers

Asparagus, sage butter and flowers

Hm.  Last week you may have been disappointed that I didn’t make a stinging nettle macaron.  I know, how could I not join in the fun?  Well, truth be told I preferred the nettles mixed with ricotta cheese and mint in some homemade ravioli, tossed in the sage butter and served with some crispy sage leaves.

ravioli with sage butter and sage flowers

Homemade nettle ravioli, sage butter and sage flowers

I don’t want to disappoint you this time, though.  Why not take a glass of wine, sit back and enjoy it with a mini sweet garden herb macaron?  And if you have the book handy, then just turn to page 97 for the recipe. Cheers!

Sweet Garden Herb Macarons


Making macarons but don’t know what to do with the egg yolks? Don’t despair. Check out this week’s guest recipe post from Joshua at Just Eat! He’s making us some Biscuits Bretons to use up our egg yolks.

If you missed the others, take a look at Liz’s silky Chocolate Pots de Crème (guest from That Skinny Chick Can Bake), Erin’s Blueberry or Pineapple Curd (guest from BigFatBaker), and Manu’s Genovesi Ericine Sicilian pastries (guest from Manu’s Menu).

Stay tuned, folks, since there are more guests coming soon to share their egg yolk recipes with us.

Before you go, I just wanted to say a huge thank you for some blog awards.  I haven’t forgotten: just stuck for time to post it all – will be up on the next post!

50 replies
  1. The Mistress of Spices
    The Mistress of Spices says:

    I don’t think I’ve actually had fresh sage before (gasp!) but it looks great, and the flowers are so pretty. I have been cooking with asparagus all week after picking up several bunches at the market on Sunday. I’ll have to get some fresh sage too and try your lovely recipe! Thanks!

  2. Cristina
    Cristina says:

    Hi Jill: I didn’t know that Sage flowers were edible. My sage is blooming too. I’m going to definitely try that Sage butter! E-Yum. I think it’s about due time for me to make some macarons too!

    Hope you’re feeling better from sore muscles working out in the garden. LOL! I know how it feels, but it’s such instant gratification after weeding is done, isn’t it? =)

  3. Pudding Pie Lane
    Pudding Pie Lane says:

    Your garden looks lovely! And I keep seeing lots of different colours of asparagus lately.. purple, and now white! I really want to try that 🙂 And herb macarons, wow! I’m very tempted to buy my first macaron book soon, and I know which one I’d be ordering 🙂

  4. Lora @cakeduchess
    Lora @cakeduchess says:

    Hi Jill- your garden is splendid:) I love the smell of sage cooking in butter. I like Sue’ tip for sage leaves in boiling water with blackcurrant juice. I am marking it down so I don’t forget. Have a lovely weekend:)

  5. Spinneys Cauldron
    Spinneys Cauldron says:

    You’re making me hungry, wow what gorgeous flavours, such elegance, style & depth . Ive never seen asparagus like that .. I want to come to France, more so to your pantry tis very alluring 🙂 Fab recipe looks soo tasty. My veggie garden is on hold due to feeble excuses 🙂

  6. Magic of Spice
    Magic of Spice says:

    Your garden is glorious, and I was just in my yard a few moments ago admiring the flowering of some of my herbs. Then I notices several large weeds close by, yikes I must do exactly as you have and just get it done.
    I love the lighter way you have prepared the asparagus, here 🙂
    P.S. Funny about the word Sage, I remember my great grandmother referring with this term…I have forgotten so much.

  7. Cakewhiz
    Cakewhiz says:

    You are so lucky you can grow herbs…i tried growing mint leaves and was happy they were growing well until they started dying on me a few weeks ago for unknown reasons 🙁

    Sweet garden herb macaron…that sounds like a very different combination. I have got to get over my fear of making macarons. Yours always look so perfect!!!!

  8. Nami @ Just One Cookbook
    Nami @ Just One Cookbook says:

    Hi Jill! I’m catching up on reading now… sorry for my late comment. Ohh I heard about the white asparagus from my friend who lives in London. I have never had it but I’d love to try! It’s so nice to have a garden – although it sounds like a work sometimes. My backyard is next to the canyon and unless I make a cage (?) deer and all kinds of animals will eat my plants. It’s so expensive to buy herbs from store too! Your herb macarons are interesting! I can’t imagine how it would taste like!

  9. Amy
    Amy says:

    Hi Jill! I love herbs! Your post has the most beautiful and delicious looking photos! I love how you have found so many wonderful ways to showcase the best of the herb season! Hope you have a wonderful week :)!

  10. Hester Casey - Alchemy
    Hester Casey - Alchemy says:

    Aspergez-vous? What a lovely idea! Jill, I envy you that cherry tree and the lovely herb garden. We don’t tend to get white asparagus here – except nasty stuff in jars so I’ll try the sage flowers on green asperge instead. How funny that the meaning of sage can be age-dependent.

  11. Meghan
    Meghan says:

    It doesn’t get much better than sage butter! So simple and yet it adds so much to a dish. That shot of the white asparagus is just beautiful!

  12. Kristen
    Kristen says:

    I love herb gardens. They seem able to survive even when the weeds get too big for other plants. And they make so many dishes exceptional just by their addition. I am intrigued by those herb macarons. What fun.

  13. Sue
    Sue says:

    Oh I love sage and it is so good for you, wonderful for sore throats and colds. Whenever anyone in our house is ill I put a sage leaf or two in a mug and pour on boiling water, sweeten with blackcurrant drink (the high juice sort)and by the time it is cool enough to drink it is well infused. My other favourite cure is to cook lots in homemade tomato and onion soup. I had a huge bush in the garden but never had lovely flowers like you have. Unfortunately it died during the winter so I will keep my fingers crossed for the new one!

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Wow. Sage & blackcurrant? Sounds so good, I’m almost dying to try it next sore throat/cold! Makes a change from whisky/honey, for sure.

  14. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time
    The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time says:

    You have made my heart sing with joy because I love fresh sage most of all and the rest of me green with envy because you once again showed pictures of the glorious foods offered at your market. I can not believe those piles of fresh asparagus sitting there like that.

    I love the white asparagus with the sage butter and delicate sage flowers. I can’t wait for my sage to grow up and flower. It’s its first year so next year will be my discovery like you had this spring.

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      I’m singing as well with your lovely comment. Merci. You’ll see, then: next year you’re in for a big surprise with your sage. Mine has been there for about 5 years but it’s only now that it’s flowering in full glory. It’s incredible. I wish it lasted longer but I’m still making the most of it. The goal is (like short-lived asparagus) to have so much of it, that we don’t miss it as much until the next season 😉 Jill xo

  15. Kate@Diethood.com
    [email protected] says:

    I fixed my garden – it’s as big as an olympic sized pool 😉 – about a month or so ago…. then it rained, it got really cold, there was even frost … now I have to go and clean it up asap…but I’m kinda lazy because it’s still cold!

    I will never think of ‘sage’ the same way again 🙂

  16. visda
    visda says:

    Wow. You have a gorgeous garden. I thought I can only learn about macarons from you but I see that I can learn gardening as well. I only grow a few herbs which is just enough for garnish but I can imagine how you get inspired by your garden. and no worries about not making stinging nettle macarons.;-) your posts are wonderful anyways and I’m sure the macaron expert knows which flavors better fit in macarons.:-)

  17. Biren @ Roti n Rice
    Biren @ Roti n Rice says:

    My yard was also in a sad state and it was a monumental effort to make it decent again after the prolonged cold weather. Still much to be done but it is coming along. Sun is out this week and I should put on my gloves and do some planting. Very glad to see the irises and peonies growing quite tall now 🙂

    That sage asparagus looks lovely with those sage flowers! What a great idea to give some color to those veges. Asparagus is a favorite and I know this will be delicious.

  18. Brandie
    Brandie says:

    I had no idea the sage flowers were edible! Also, I didn’t know that sage meant “wise” in French. Well then, I’m definitely sage. Yes, absolutely sage right here. Yessiree. :o)

  19. stephanie goddet
    stephanie goddet says:

    ce macaron aux herbes à l’air fameux… je réussis les macarons, mais j’aimerais bien avoir des recettes originales pour des versions “salées”… alors à quand une version française du livre ???

  20. Lucy
    Lucy says:

    Jill, your blog is so beautiful that even your supposedly untidy garden is gorgeous! Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog x

  21. Carolyn
    Carolyn says:

    An excellent question…when does a child become an adult, so when does sage become wise??? Your asparagus looks delicious, I’d love to try it with the sage flowers. I’d also love to try the sweet herb macaron!

  22. daksha
    daksha says:

    Hi! jill i’m first time here ur herb garden is very nice i like gardening too. u have lovely space dear. thanks for stoping my space nice to meet u.

  23. Becky
    Becky says:

    Your herb garden is gorgeous. We haven’t even planted any herbs or flowers yet. Maybe today, because the sun is shining. I want to plant sage, just for the flowers:)

  24. Natalie
    Natalie says:

    I’ve never seen sage flowers but my chives and thyme are both flowering, so pretty! I’m going to have to start using them more they’re too pretty to waste!!

  25. Roxan
    Roxan says:

    Hi Jill! It’s Roxan, I added you on Facebook recently.
    Your garden looks lovely – I wish I had one of my own but here in Los Angeles yards are hard to come by!
    Your asparagus looks absolutely delicious. I’d love to try some of that sage infused butter… It sounds amazing.

  26. Marsha @ The Harried Cook
    Marsha @ The Harried Cook says:

    Your herb garden is gorgeous, Jill! And so is the white asparagus… we don’t get them here. Do they taste very different from the green ones?

    I actually went to a book store and looked for your book yesterday, but they didn’t have it. But, I intend to order it online soon! 🙂 Don’t know when I’ll work up the nerve to try making macarons, but I want the book to be around if I suddenly get the impulse 🙂 Great post!!!

  27. Liz
    Liz says:

    I’m going to check my sage for flowers…so beautiful! And since we eat asparagus weekly in the spring, I want to serve it with your lovely sage butter soon.

    Your herb macarons are gorgeous, too…hope to get your book this week and start my first batch 🙂

    PS…loved the French language lesson…so fascinating!

  28. Emily @ Life On Food
    Emily @ Life On Food says:

    I think your garden looks wonderful. I just planted some pots of herbs this weekend. I cannot wait to be able to start using them. Your post reminded me of white asparagus. It always frightened me in France. Do you like it?

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      THanks, Emily. Why you frightened of white asparagus? I love it! Just tougher to peel than the green stuff, but great for tarts and popping in salads.



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