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In Season Now: Lovage

Apples aren’t always red or green, carrots aren’t always orange and tomatoes come in a variety of hues beyond red. What we see in grocery stores is a tiny sample of the vast array of vegetables, fruits and herbs that are grown and sold here.

Meet lovage, one of those lesser known herbs.

You probably won’t find lovage in a grocery store though. This French herb, which has a flavor similar to celery with a texture that’s more like parsley, can be found at some Maine farmers markets in May and June. In past seasons, I’ve bought it from Wise Acres Farm in Kenduskeag, which has a stand at the Bangor Farmers’ Market on Sundays. You can also grow your own.

The aromatic leaves of lovage can be chopped, minced, thinly sliced, torn or even pureed (with other ingredients). Mix it into sauces, salads, soups, vinaigrettes and so much more. You can also eat the stems. Perhaps use them in a stir fry?

As for the name, it means “false celery,” in French. Accurate, I say.

In this vinaigrette, the flavor of lovage is complemented by garlic. The light, refreshing flavor of white wine vinegar combines with olive oil, a little water and a touch of dijon mustard. Seasoned with just a bit of salt and pepper, it’s perfect for drizzling onto salads. It’d also be lovely on boiled potatoes.

Lovage Garlic Vinaigrette

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

1 heaping tablespoon fresh minced lovage

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ tsp dijon mustard

4 tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tbsp water

salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Pile the lovage, garlic and mustard in a pint jar.

Pour the olive oil, white wine vinegar and water in. Season gently with salt and pepper.

Place a top on the jar and twist to seal. Shake vigorously.

Sarah Walker Caron is the editor of Bangor Metro Magazine. A longtime food writer, she is co-author of “Grains as Mains: Modern Recipes Using Ancient Grains,” and author of the popular food blog Sarah’s Cucina Bella (www.sarahscucinabella.com).

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