Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Bit of Magic - Culinary Lavender

    A sister-in-law, Betsy, gave me a silver tin full of a secret spice that I had very limited knowledge about:  culinary lavender.  I have seen recipes all over the internet for desserts that had the essence of lavender, but Betsy said what it was really great for was savory cooking.  I have decorative lavender growing in my yard; however, the lavenders used in cooking are varieties such a Lavanula x intermedia or "Provence" which is what Betsy gifted me.  Of course I got on the internet and tried all kinds of dishes.  I learned to reduce in half the amount that any recipe suggested or else it is just too overpowering.  When added in the right amount, the lavender takes the taste to a whole different level - fabulous.  I barely know it's there, but when I take a bite, I am transported back in time to a cute little French bistro I once ate at. In this post I have included the three best savory recipes that I tried out.  The Grilled Pork Chops with Lavender Flowers reminded me of how I roast chicken using Herbs de Provence - I had never made the connection that there was lavender in that classic dried herb mix.  Vinaigrette with Lavender is truly out of this world - I am not kidding - you will want to lick the salad plate.  It would also be good as a marinade for fish or chicken.  Finally the Black Olive "Tapenade" is for the true gourmet. It is so simple, but so sophistated.  Serve it to Impress!

Grilled Pork Chops with Lavender Flowers

4 to 6 pork loin chops                                                   
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried culinary lavender
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix all the spices and oil together to make a paste.  Rub the mixture on both sides of the pork chops.  Let them sit for about 20 minutes and then grill about 5 to 7 minutes a side.  An inserted meat thermometer should read 155 degrees.

Vinaigrette with Lavender

1/2 cup olive oil                                                                   
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon of ground culinary lavender
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, put through a press

Grind the lavender buds into powder. Whisk all the ingredients together.  This is so, so, so delicious on a salad that has sliced hard boiled eggs in it!

Lavender Truffle Tapenade

1 crusty loaf of bread like a French baguette                        
1/2 cup chopped up black olives   
1 teaspoon white truffle oil
(or olive oil & a minced garlic clove)
Scant 1/4 teaspoon culinary lavender buds

Warm the bread up in the oven.  Put the olives, oil, and lavender in a food processor and combine them long enough to form a paste.  Slice the bread and serve it warm with the tapenade.


  1. I love all of the ways you've used lavender! I can't wait to try out that pork recipe

    1. Thanks Abby! I think it would be really good with chicken too...

  2. I wondered about how to use lavender and if the floral lavender was what was used in cooking. Your recipes sound scrumptious! Now I have to grow some!!

    1. The main thing is start slow - it is very aromatic - a little is really great, but if you add too much- it's too strong...I recognized the flavors from eating out, but I never knew it was lavender!