Sage is really one of my favorite herbs. I like it fresh, as a counterpoint to something sweet — I used sage in a strawberry sorbet once, and it turned out really sleek and metrosexual. [Pokes fun at self.] And I've recently infused some vodka with strawberries, sage and cracked black pepper: stunning.
You know sage is good with sweetish things already, if you're a fan of fried sage garnish on squash-filled ravioli.
Of course, sage is great in savory preparations. A couple of years ago I made Christmas presents of sage/cranberry-infused rice vinegar. Snappy. Sage is an important flavoring in lots of sausage recipes. Then, naturally, there's turkey stuffing, which wouldn't be turkey stuffing without the sage. Dried sage, actually. It really tastes different. It intensifies as it dries, unlike most herbs. (And dried sage makes a most delicious hot tea.) Dried sage is easily crushed by rubbing between your hands.
You may already know that sage has been touted for centuries as a boon for the memory. Now, research is suggesting that might just be true. (Can't remember where I read that. Oh well.)
Then there's that hippie-dippy practice of burning bundles of dried sage as incense. Stink-ay!
The sage I'm talking about for most cooking purposes is salvia officinalis, but of course, there are other varieties. You could read a whole book on the subject.
I'd rather just cook with it. I came across this recipe (haven't tried it yet) from a master gardener named Madeline Wajda, and doesn't she look like just the kind of lady you'd like to have cooking for you?
Sage Pecan Cheese Wafers (Makes 3 Dozen)
1 Cup (4 oz.) Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
¾ Cup Flour
¼ Cup Chopped Pecans (or Walnuts)
¼ tsp. Rubbed Sage
1/8 tsp. Ground Red Pepper
1/4 tsp. Salt (one-fourth)
One-third-Cup Butter or Margarine in Small Pieces
Process first six ingredients in a food processor for 10 seconds. Add butter a piece at a time while processor is running until mixture forms a ball. Roll to one-fourth inch thickness on lightly floured surface; cut with 1 and one-half inch round cookie cutter. (The dough can also be shaped into a long roll, refrigerated, then sliced and baked.) Bake at 350 degrees on ungreased cookie sheet 12-14 minutes until edges turn golden.