On a recent trip to NYC I scored some incredible culinary lavender at the Union Square Market and decided to put it to good use. For those who have never cooked with lavender before, it is highly, highly suggested.
Also, Chemist in the Kitchen is officially 3 months old! WOW how the time flies, and it’s all thanks to that delicious gluten-free sweet potato gnocchi that became my first post ever. Thank you all for your support and encouragement in this food blog journey so far!
Lavender has been well-known for its relaxation-promoting properties and health benefits since the 1600’s! Queen Elizabeth the First was apparently so obsessed with lavender that she demanded that it be available for her year-round, present on every table in every room, and would frequently drink lavender tea to prevent migraines. Queen Victoria loved the fragrance so much that she had it hand-sewn into every bed linen. Then again, who can blame them?
Though many varieties of lavender are cultivated, the best for culinary use is English Lavender, or Lavandula augustifolia. English Lavender is the sweetest species of lavender available for culinary use, while other species tend to leave behind a strong bitter aftertaste. The key to cooking with lavender can be boiled down into one word: experimentation. Lavender has a strong aroma and flavor and a little goes quite a long way. Always make sure to purchase either culinary dried lavender or pesticide-free fresh lavender—do NOT use lavender from your local florist unless you are 100% certain that it is pesticide free!
I love to pair lavender with other strong flavors that can stand up to the lavender’s strong contribution to the dish. Lavender is notorious for its pairing with red meat, my favorite being lamb. This recipe involves marinating a deboned leg of lamb in lavender, rosemary, and garlic prior to roasting and devouring. The lamb cuts like butter and has just the right amount of lavender to every bite. Paired with a spiced medjool date relish, this dish is both easy and delicious—the perfect combination for your next impressive dinner.