Architectural Angelica

archangelumHerb gardens attract me, I do not really know why.  The plants are often low and uninteresting, but there are towering exceptions to this rule, notably angelica.  Angelica Archangelica (yes, that’s the real name) grows to six feet, and is the sort of weedy large plant that is understated in the extreme, but useful.  According to Wyman’s Garden Encyclopaedia, you can use the young leaves of this biennial to season fish, and the stems are often blanched and eaten in salads.

The French, of course, go us one better and candy the stems. The recipe for this procedure is in The Joy of Cooking, and involves 2 cups of angelica stems cut up.  You marinate them in a crock for a day with 1/3 cup salt and then boil them in a 1 to 1 water and sugar syrup for twenty minutes.  Drain them on a rack, cook down the syrup to 234 degrees fahrenheit, and two days later (what do you do with the syrup in the meantime, I wonder?) pour over the dried angelica until they are candied. Continue reading