Sunday, 20 July 2008

Simple lavender salad

I've mentioned once or twice that I've been growing things in pots on our patio, and one of those pots contains a small lavender plant. We had a big bush of lavender in our old garden in Sussex and it was partly nostalgia which made me buy some more when we moved. I've never used it for anything - not even drying and scenting drawers, much less cook with it, but when Holler announced that the theme of No Croutons Required the event she and Lisa host, was herbs this month, I thought it would be the perfect occasion to let my lovingly tended plant shine in a whole new way.

My salad is very simple - just some mixed leaves, some tomato and some spring onion, and I got the inspiration for the lavender dressing from a book called Herbs by Joanna Farrow. It was a birthday present from my friends Julie and Tracy years ago, when I first started trying to grow herbs, but so far I've mainly enjoyed looking at the pictures rather than cooking from it. The description of the lavender dressing in the book says that it has 'a natural affinity with sweet garlic, thyme, marjoram and orange'. Since I was using such a simple salad I didn't put any garlic in this time (though I imagine that some roasted garlic smushed in with a more robust salad would be a very nice addition). I just mixed up a little orange juice, honey, olive oil, thyme, marjoram, and the flowers from three stems from my plant. It was a lovely citrusy dressing, but the lavender scent really stood out and made it really unusual. I was actually glad I was pairing it with such a simple salad for my first attempt so that I could appreciate it. (By the way, you do need to check that your lavender is suitable for culinary purposes before eating!)


LisaRene said...

I bet fresh lavender would be a great addition to your next Eve's pudding :) Fresh herbs do make all the difference in cooking and lavender certainly isn't utilized in the States as much as it deserves to be. I have yet to add it to a salad but since I have some culinary lavender on hand I will definitely give it a try!

Johanna said...

I enjoy reading about lavendar on blogs as it intrigues me even though I get concerned about needing to check that I don't use the wrong lavendar - this sounds v interesting

Lysy said...

I hadn't thought of adding lavender to the pudding but it sounds like a lovely idea. It added such a nice fragrance to the salad that I think it would improve dessert very well indeed. I found a few more recipes for it in the same book so might try a few more when my plant's grown some more!

I made sure that the lavender plant I bought was suitable for eating, though I don't know what happens to you if you get the wrong sort!

Lucy said...

Lysy, what a gorgeous dressing!

Roasted garlic smushed in...that would be heavenly. Beautiful flavours - the essence of summer.