What to do with lovage – tips from broadcaster Judith Hann
Tried and Supplied’s founder, Domini Hogg, brought me some lovage last weekend. How intriguing! Ever since my interview with Judith Hann (See Lovage And Chervil, Discovering Some Unusual Herbs with Broadcaster and Gardener, Judith Hann) I’ve been longing to try some.
What does lovage taste like?
And she’s right about lovage, it’s a wonderful herb, a sort of cynical, not-to-be-messed with elder brother to celery with a strong, spicy, bitter flavour of its own, slightly curry, slightly parsley, perhaps a touch of aniseed. The parsley and celery notes are not surprising since all three plants are members of the Umbelliferae botanical family, but lovage’s taste is stronger than both its siblings.
What can you do with lovage?
- toss young leaves into salad
- use to stuff chicken or fish before roasting or baking
- take the tender, young leaves and stem from the centre of the plant, steam, and serve as a side alongside chicken, or fish
- over prawns or scallops
- shred the leaves over carrots, peas, and broad beans
- mix with peas, lettuce, and cucumber to make a summer soup
- stir into omelettes or scrambled eggs or quiches
- it’s good with Swiss chard or spinach
- Judith told me that, teamed with onion and garlic, it brings main crop potatoes alive
- it’s grand with new potatoes and a mustardy vinaigrette; or olive oil, salt and lemon; or in the Saucy Dressings’ invention given below, with peas and preserved lemons. New potatoes don’t need quite such heavy handed treatment as main crop.
- I was recently treated to lunch at Claridge’s by a very generous friend. We sampled a baby beetroot salad with tempera-ed lovage… a wonderful pairing!
You can also use the hollow stems as sustainable straws for summer drinks…. from cucumber-flavoured water, to a full-blown Bloody Mary.
What can you substitute for lovage?
If you can’t find lovage, you can substitute with a mix of parsley and celery. Or, if you want a more definite taste, you could try coriander.
Where can you buy lovage plants?
You can buy lovage from Norfolk Herbs.
Recipe for new potatoes with pea and preserved lemon sauce; and lovage
These potatoes go well with a tomato salad and either white fish, or lamb.
Covered, they will keep warm in the oven for an hour or so.
- 300g/2 cups frozen peas
- 30g/1 oz lovage leaves (or coriander)
- 1 small preserved lemon
- ½ a fresh lemon
- 80 ml/⅓ cup olive oil
- A few knobs of butter
- Maldon salt and cooking salt
- Urfa or Aleppo chilli flakes
- 750g/1 lb 10 oz new potatoes
- If you are lucky enough to have laid your hands on some Jersey Royals, put them in a saucepan, cover them with cold water and a generous amount of table salt and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Follow this link for more information about cooking Jersey Royals.
- Bring another (enamel, to take the stick blender) pan of water to the boil and blanch the peas for a minute or so. Drain.
- Return to the saucepan.
- Cut the preserved lemon into small pieces, get rid of the pips, and add to the peas. Add most of the lovage, saving a few leaves for garnish.
- Zest the half lemon, add to the peas. Then squeeze in the juice. Add the olive oil and some salt.
- Blitz the lot with the stick blender.
- When the potatoes are done drain them, and return to their pan. Pour over the lemony pea sauce. Stir to coat the potatoes and slightly crush some of them.
- Serve the potatoes, with the remainder of the lovage snipped over them, and a dusting of Urfa or Aleppo chilli flakes.