Think of lovage as celery gone wild, or at least as celery that has successfully completed an assertiveness training program. The perennial herb (available now at the D’Attolico and Gorzynski farm stands at the Union Square Greenmarket) has a celerylike fragrance and flavor so intense it’s been used in soaps and deodorants, not to mention love potions. It’s also good in soups and salads and, especially, in this newfangled gravlax recipe from Harrison chef Amanda Freitag.
Amanda Freitag’s Lovage Gravlax With Potato-and-Herb Salad
FOR THE GRAVLAX:
1 cup kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons coriander seed, cracked
11/2 lbs. arctic-char fillet (ask your fishmonger to fillet a side of the fish)
1 bunch lovage leaves, chopped
2 lemons (1 sliced, 1 juiced)
FOR THE POTATO-HERB SALAD:
1/2 lb. golden nugget potatoes, at Mountain Sweet Berry, Union Square Greenmarket
1/4 cup lovage leaves
1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup frisée, cleaned and roughly chopped
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
FOR THE GRAVLAX: In a small mixing bowl, blend together the salt, sugar, and coriander. Sprinkle about ¼ of the spice mixture lengthwise down the center of a sheet of plastic wrap long enough to fit the fish, then (1) place fillet skin side down on top of the spice mix. Sprinkle remaining gravlax spice on top of the fillet, pressing it into the fillet to thoroughly coat. (2) Sprinkle lovage on top of the spice. Place sliced lemons on the fillet, and pour lemon juice over top. Wrap fillet tightly in plastic wrap, place on a sheet tray or baking dish, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator and carefully remove plastic wrap. With a paper towel, gently wipe off all the remaining spice. (3) With a 12-inch slicing knife, slice fish very thinly and place the shingled slices between two pieces of parchment paper. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
FOR THE POTATO-HERB SALAD: In a medium pot, boil unpeeled potatoes in salted water until tender; remove from water and place in bowl to let cool. Once cool, slice potatoes thinly. In a medium mixing bowl, toss them with lovage, parsley, frisée, lemon juice, and extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve alongside gravlax.