Lovage Salsa Verde
In the name of professional development, I purchased 6 bundles of lovage last week without a plan. In Vegetable Literacy, Deborah Madison recommends adding lovage to potatoes and dried beans as well as egg salad, tomato and lentil soups, and green salads. She even suggests using the more mature, hollow stems as a straw for a Bloody Mary.
Recently, I served this sauce over tuna confit and gigante beans. The anchovies are a subtle but welcome addition. I implore you to include them – anchovy paste is a suitable substitute in a pinch unless you’re keeping it vegetarian or vegan, in which case it’s perfectly acceptable to omit.
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 3T red wine vinegar
- 1 bunch lovage, finely chopped
- 1T capers, finely chopped
- 3 anchovy filets, finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Place the shallots, red wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. The vinegar should cover the minced shallots. If necessary, add a bit more vinegar. Leave to macerate for 5 minutes, then strain and reserve the vinegar.
When chopping the lovage, take care to dry the leaves well. Excess moisture will encourage bruising and catalyst unsightly browning. A sharp knife is imperative here.
Place the lovage, capers, anchovy, and macerated shallots in a small bowl. Fold in the olive oil. You may not need it all. Salsa verde should be loose enough to drip off a spoon, but not so loose that it resembles soup. Find a happy medium. You may not need all the oil. Season with salt, black pepper, and a couple of drops of the vinegar from the macerated shallots.
If preparing the sauce ahead of time, withhold the shallots and vinegar as the vinegar will hasten the discoloration of the bright herbs. Fold the shallots and vinegar in right before you’re ready to serve.
This is a delicious condiment for roasted chicken or steak but would also be at home over a bed of steamed baby potatoes or cooked white beans.
Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce
This is one of those recipes that anyone can tackle. It comes from The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan, the doyenne of Italian cooking. The ingredient is short (and probably all stuff you have in the pantry). The process is simple and streamlined. Best of all, it yields a sauce whose flavor is robust in its generosity.
In the introduction to this recipe excerpted in Genius Recipes, Kristen Miglore shares this quote from Marcella: Simple doesn’t mean easy … I can describe simple cooking thus: Cooking that is stripped all the way down to those procedures and those ingredients indispensable in enunciating the sincere flavor intentions of a dish.”
- 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled, or canned tomatoes
- 5T unsalted butter
- 1 onion, halved
- kosher salt
Put the tomatoes in a medium saucepan with the butter, onion, and salt. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring periodically, folding the fat back into the tomato once it starts to separate. Mash the tomatoes with the back of your spoon to encourage them to disassemble and merge into the sauce.
To finish the sauce, you can leave it textured and slightly chunky or pass through a food mill for a smoother consistency. Marcella suggests tossing out the onion before serving, but I quite like milling the whole thing so bits of onion comingle with the tomato.
Serve with pasta and loads of parm or use as a braising liquid for your favorite meatball recipe.