I grew up eating lovage, plucking leaves from the towering centerpiece to our herb garden and adding them to cheese and tomato sandwiches. I didn’t know other people didn’t know about this spicy garden herb until much later in life when, while perusing seedling trays at farmer’s markets, even the some of the farmers gave me blank stares.
Lovage looks like the mammoth form of flat leaved parsley, and indeed both are members of the carrot family, but it tastes more like the energetic offspring of lettuce and cumin, or maybe curried celery.
So what to do with lovage? I knew one woman who made a killer soup with
shredded lovage leaves and peas and lettuce…and maybe cucumbers or sorrel? But clearly I don’t have that recipe here. I’ve also heard of lovage stalks replacing celery in a bloody mary drink. But I don’t have that recipe either (and I’m too humble to venture into bloody mary territory- those folks are as serious as the barbequers.)
I definitely like the leaves on sandwiches, I’ve definitely added the stalks to soups and to roast veggie dishes (anywhere the celery would go), and it’s good in this raw soup:
In descending volume:
- Parsley <– sizable amount. No skimping.
- Garlic <– puree everything down to here till smooth, then add
- Miso (use young, light, sweet misos) Puree again briefly.
- Salt to taste
- Garnish with ground black pepper
The result is a tasty raw soup, good for you and good for not heating up your house in summer. Sorrel, ramps, and spinach are all variants worth exploring.
Speaking of playing in the kitchen, I have more sneaking suspicions I’d like to try out: I’m betting lovage seeds would be great in a pickling spice mix. I also suspect lovage would amazing pureed into a homemade aioli (anywhere arugula would go) and used as a dip. If you chance to try these, or come up with your own creative concoctions, do share.
ps- yes, the root is edible, no I’ve never eaten the root. This is a perennial herb; I like the roots best when they are growing more herbs.