Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Romanian lovage sauce recipe

Polish: lubczyk
Kashubian: lëbiszk
Persian: انجدان رومی
Azerbaijani: dərman levistiki
Icelandic: skessujurt
Bulgarian: Девесил
French: livèche
German: Liebstöckel
Hebrew: לווג'
Finnish: liperi

Spring generously gives us vegetables and herbs. I just bought a bunch of of differrent leaf vegetables and fresh herbs at my local market. Lovage. I just ate it fresh for the first time... Dried lovage is added often to the chicken broth in Poland and is a component of many dried herbs mixes, but there is nothing better than a fresh greeny ingredient in our kitchens. It is easy to cultivate, even in the pot on your balcony. And there is something about love in this herb, I am very sure... in Poland people used to put lovage leaves to the first bath of a baby-born girl, which had to bring her love in the future life... for same reason, girls were putting it into their hair or dress during their wedding. Today we only believe that lovage can increase the libido...
The recipe is inspired by Romanian way of preserving this lovely herb, called pasta de leuștean, which is kept in the fridge and added to the soup whenever you like. But try to eat it like pesto sauce with your favourite pasta!

a bunch of lovage (about 200gr)
olive oil
salt (about a teaspoon)

optionally (to make a pasta sauce):
garlic cloves
maybe a bit of pine nuts / almonds / pistachios
maybe a bit of cheese

Wash lovage and separate leaves from stems. Grind them with olive oil and salt and in this stage you can put the result to the jar and pasteurise it the way you usually do and enjoy the celery-like, aromatic fresh taste of lovage after its season. it is great to add a bit of lovage to the soup, stew or pasta sauce. But I thought, this great and simple puree could be eaten like pesto, just with noodles, so you could add, to your taste, ground pistachios, pine nuts, cheese... My palate was satisfied with lovage, garlic, olive oil and salt, and japanese buckwheat noodles. Yummy :)