Lovage – Levisticum officinale
This member of the umbellifer family of plants looks like flat leaf parsley, grows tall like fennel and has a strong flavour of celery. Its seeds are known as ajwan in the Middle East and South Asia and are used in a range of dishes. In Europe, its leaves are used in soups, to flavour vegetables and in salads. In the UK, lovage is used to make a mildly alcoholic cordial that is added to brandy as a winter warmer.
I add a small sprig to the pot when I’m making stock or put inside the cavity of a fish when baking whole. If you’re eating the leaves, it’s best to pick it when it’s young and soft like these otherwise the flavour of the older, tougher leaves can be overpowering.