Ooooh La Lavender: Lavender Focaccia, Lavender Chicken and Garlic Asparagus
I have a few culinary obsessions, and lavender happens to be one of them. I had hankering for a lavender meal! I am not sure when I started cooking with lavender but I know I have a strong penchant for it. About a year and a half ago I was looking for spices and herbs online and ended up buying a whole pound of it by mail order! I am still working on this batch and end up using it wherever possible.
Last week, my friend Chez, who lives in Hawaii, sent me some odds and ends including a book about lavender from the fields on Maui… I could go into a whole tangent about the lavender on Maui and in the world as a whole, but I’ll just focus on the recipe. I decided to make a recpe for Lavender Foccaccia bread, taken from The Maui Book of Lavender. I’m pretty sure I have officially gotten over my fear of yeast.
I wanted to make something to compliment the bread (though I could make a meal from the bread alone…). My go-to dish is making chicken using any herbs I can get my hands on, which my roommate Abi absolutely approves of (yes, I do a lot of cooking with her in mind as she is my main audience). Armed with a whole lot of lavender, I started making a simple lavender chicken that is to die for. You can find the recipes below!
From The Maui Book of Lavender
- 1 tbsp. sugar or honey (I used honey for a little something different)
- 1 2/3 c. Water, divided
- 1 packet dried yeast
- 5 c. bread flour
- 6 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. culinary Lavender, finely chopped (I crushed it up with my mortar/pestle)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- In a small bowl, combine sugar or honey with ½ cup of warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the mixture; let stand until foamy (5-8 minutes)
- Sift the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour remaining water, yeast mixture and 4 tbsp olive oil. Mix approximately 5 minutes until dough is formed; transfer to your work surface. Knead for 10 minutes, then add salt and knead for approximately 6-10 minutes or until dough is smooth (if the dough sticks to your hands, add some additional flour, 1 tbsp at a time).
- Spray large bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Form the dough into a ball and place dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place (draft-free) to rise for approximately 45-60 minute, or unitl dough has doubled in bulk.
- Preheat oven to 400. Lightly oil a large baking sheet. Lightly flour work surface and roll out dough into a large rectangle. Transfer dough to the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let rise approximately 30-45 minutes or until it doubles its size.
- While dough is rising, make the lavender garlic topping. Finely chop the lavender. In a small bowl, mix lavender and garlic with the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil. Make dimples in the dough with your fingers by pushing into the dough several times. Brush the lavender-garlic topping all over and into the dimples. Sprinkle coarse salt and pepper on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
Cece’s Lavender Chicken
This recipe is fairly simple…. But is oh so delicious! Feel free to add any herbs that you would like. This also works well with pork. (Pork is a very lovely compliment for lavender and I highly recommend trying it out that way as well.)
Put any amount of chicken breast you want in a bag and add olive oil in the bag and then throw in culinary lavender liberally. Store in the refrigerator for as long as allowed. I usually like to marinate meats in the refrigerator for 4+ hours. But if you don’t have that much time to devote then at least 30 minutes is fine!
When you are ready to cook the meat, put it in an oven at 350 for about 40 minutes (time can vary really until cooked through). Usually what I do is throw it in a skillet and cook it until the meat is firm and cooked through.
Wash asparagus and then put into a bag, pour about 1 tbsp of olive oil in the bag mince at least 4 cloves of garlic (more or less can be used based on your taste, we love A LOT of garlic!), sprinkle some salt and pepper in the bag and then close. Mix the contents of the bag so that all the asparagus is covered. Leave in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours so that everything can mix well together.
Heat up a skillet or wok. After the asparagus are coated, pour into the pan and cook them on high. As Marc has advised me, just let them cook until the last point before they might burn and take them out. Make sure that the stalks are soft and easily edible. When you hit that point take them out. Before serving sprinkle Parmesan cheese on it.
I just put all this together today to go with the bread. It was a good compliment for one another because the bread has both lavender and garlic, which acted as the tie between the chicken and the asparagus.
As Julia would say, Bon Appetit!