I fell in love with Lovage at the first taste twenty four years ago in a herb garden in Zurich, Switzerland. First I saw some tall herbs and plants; my friend asked me to smell and taste some. I was excited by the aroma, and learned the story of Maggi soup and the use of Maggi seasoning sauce in Switzerland. Thais love maggi seasoning sauce from Maggi of Switzerland. Thais use it interchangeably with soy sauce or Golden Mountain sauce.
Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is a large herb that can grow to 6 feet tall in my garden but I always remove the tall stems. It is used in south European Cuisine. Lovage grows well in Pacific Northwest.
In Seattle, I had a chance to savor the lovage soup twice, once at the herb farm (Lovage & Stining Nettle Soup) and and another one at the Crush restaurant (Lovage & Leek Soup) in Seattle. With that taste memories that I have, I have prepared this soup for my family one day from the left over grilled asparagus and fresh lovage from my garden.
I hope you see a Thai connection for this recipe and I want to encourage gluten-free cooks to use more lovage in Thai cooking to gain unique flavor that is similar to soy sauce or Maggi sauce.
Serves: 43 tablespoons canola oil or extra light olive oil ½ cup diced onion 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 cups lovage leave, chopped plus 2 tablespoons for garnish 2 cups grilled or fresh asparagus, chopped 1 teaspoon sea salt 3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth ½ teaspoon paprika
Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add canola oil when hot. Stir onion and garlic until fragrant and onion become translucent. Stir in lovage for 30 seconds before adding grilled asparagus and sea salt. Pour into a large pot and add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lets it cook on medium heat until asparagus is soft. About 15 minutes. Stir in paprika. Serve as is or use a blend in the blender. Garnish with chopped lovage.
Vegetarian option: substitute chicken broth with vegetable or mushroom broth.© 2010 Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen I Love Thai cooking