Fried Sage and Manchego Cheese Rolls are tender sage leaves wrapped around tiny chunks of Manchego cheese and then lightly fried ~ this unique tapas style appetizer is always a hit!
fried sage and manchego cheese rolls
I found this idea of rolled and fried sage years ago in an old Italian cookbook I picked up at a thrift store. I happened to get some especially beautiful large sage leaves the other day and they jogged my memory about those rolls. the original recipe involved anchovies—my adaption is even better, if I do say so myself.
what you’ll need
- fresh sage leaves, the larger the better. It helps to have medium to large sage leaves for this, so that you can fit a decent size chunk of cheese inside.
- manchego cheese
- olive oil
Sage leaves have enough body to them that they hold up when fried, and take on the most wonderful flavor and crispness. Fried sage leaves are a delicacy just by themselves, sometimes served with an aioli type dipping sauce, sometimes as a garnish on Italian dishes.
let’s make it!
- Trim any longer stems from your sage leaves. Place them upside down on your surface.
- Put a small chunk of cheese at the tip end, and roll up, around the cheese. Secure with a toothpick.
- Fry in hot olive oil (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep) in a skillet for about a minute to a minute and a half, just until the sage has crisped.
- Drain on paper towels, shower with coarse salt, and serve!
If your oil is deep enough you can stand the rolls upright in the oil and flash fry the whole roll at once. The rolls will fry in about a minute. If you use shallower oil it’s easiest to use tongs to flip them over. Either way it takes a minute or less to fry them. Drain briefly on a paper towel before serving. You can toss the cheese cubes in flour first if you want, that just helps to keep the cheese from melting out of the leaf too fast, but I didn’t bother.
how to serve fried sage rolls
These little rolls can stand on their own, just provide a nice chardonnay or pinot noir. I pile them on a little plate and let people at them. I find they taste good at room temperature, too.
the sage leaf gets crisp, the Manchego melts. What more is there to say?
more Mediterranean inspired appetizers
- Muhammara (roasted red pepper & walnut dip)
- Lemon Artichoke Hummus
- Baked Feta Bruschetta
- Baked Feta Cheese with Olives and Lemon
- Rainbow Crudités with Fire Feta
- Fried Olives with Spicy Yogurt
Fried Sage and Manchego Cheese Rolls
- 16 large sage leaves
- 16 small cubes of manchego cheese
- Heat about 1/4 – 1/2 inch of olive oil in a saute pan. It should be hot enough that the sage sizzles on contact with the oil.
- Lay down sage leaves, under side up. Put a small chunk of cheese at the tip, and wrap up, securing with a toothpick.
- Fry until crisp, about one to one and a half minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve.