Lemony Shrimp and Garlic on Lavender Stems
As mentioned earlier this week it is time for another challenge here at More Than Burnt Toast. For the next week the posts around here are turning blue in July with my latest personal blog challenge...My World is Blue. I have taken on the challenge of creating a menu from beginning to end from salad to dessert using culinary lavender and infusions, each recipe incorporating a new technique.
My inspiration came from a beautiful farm property with sweeping views of Okanagan Lake the Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm . The McFadden family reinvented their heritage property into an agritourism business which today features over 60 varieties of fragrant lavender. Row upon row of gentle waves of icy blue, mauve, and deep violet billow all around you with themed herbal gardens and an array of whimsical vine sculptures.
(Today is the last day to enter our Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club giveaway here...)
Nectarine and Lavender Salad with Goat Cheese Medallions as a first course. Fresh lavender flowers were used to impart their unique flavour. Our next technique uses the stems of the lavender. The sturdy, square stems of Lavender “Grosso,” for instance, make perfect skewers for an entree of grilled shrimp. These shrimp skewers get their hint of lavender flavour from the skewers themselves.
Marinated in lemon juice, olive oil and garlic and briefly charred on your barbecue grill, the shrimp come to the table tasting of smoke, the salty tang of the ocean, with a mysterious hint of lavender. You could also substitute boneless chicken thighs or chunks of lamb for the shrimp. Andrea at the lavender farm also suggested a kebab of potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. Why not skewer your fruit and barbecue it too? All will have a slight citrusy, peppery tone from the lavender.
Lavender is an incredibly versatile herb for cooking enhancing both the flavour and appearance of food. As an herb, lavender has been in documented use for over 2,500 years. As a member of the same family as many of our most popular herbs, it is not surprising that lavender is edible and that its use in food preparation is also returning. Flowers and leaves can be used fresh, and both buds and stems can be used dried. Lavender is a member of the mint family and is close to rosemary, sage, and thyme. It has a sweet flavour, with lemon, citrus and sometimes peppery notes. It is the type of herb where your guests will ask "What's in this dish?" while enjoying every bite. I thought it was time to explore the culinary side of this versatile herb.
As in the last post remember when it comes to lavender "a little goes a long way."
**Lemony Shrimp and Garlic on Lavender Stems**
1 pound large shrimp in their shells
Juice of 1 or 2 lemons
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
6 sturdy stems of fresh or dried lavender, about 10 inches long (see note)
Devein the shrimp by cutting down the backs of their shells with a sharp paring knife. Rinse and pat dry. Do not remove the shells or the legs.
In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the shrimp, mix well and set aside to marinate.
Soak the fresh or dried lavender stems in water for 5 minutes. Remove and pat dry.(not always necessary depending on the thickness of your stalks)
Thread the shrimp onto the lavender skewers and place them on your barbecue grill. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, turn and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until the shrimp are opaque and the shells are just slightly charred.
Serve each person a skewer of shrimp, along with 2 or 3 more shrimp that have been removed from the remaining lavender stems.
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