14 July 2010

(My World is Blue) Lemony Shrimp and Garlic on Lavender Stems

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...)

One of the pleasures of having lavender in the summer garden is thinking up new ways to use it. I started off with a 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
Olive oil
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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  1. That is a wonderful flavor combination! Yummy!



  2. What lovely photos and those shrimps look amazing!

  3. There is an almost lyric quality to your first photo. I loved the way you have used the stems here. The shrimp sound delicious and it certainly is easy to do. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  4. Oh. wow. I have plenty of lavendar growing outside in the garden, so I'm thrilled to take suggestions from you! I think I consistently under-utilise my crop.

    Those shrimp skewers look amazing. Was it difficult to get the shrimp onto the stalks?

  5. Lo...soft fruits lik cherries, peaches, etc are easy to thread on the skewers as were the shrimp. Use the thicker stalks of the Grosso lavender and just have a light hand and all will be well:D

  6. Wow it looks beautiful Val! I love cooking with lavender! It really does add something special. The Northern version of saffron!

  7. I love this so much, Val!! You've done a beautiful job and made it so, I don't know, romantic, cozy, homey, all those good things. :-)

    Thank you for the Saltspring Island recommendation, by the way! I've never been there, but I looked it up and now I want to go! :-)

  8. Val...aren't you the very busy bee in your kitchen.
    I can see that you've made good use of that lavender field ;o)
    Great photo captures of nature.

    Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,

  9. Love the first photo! I'm not familiar with working with lavender. I guess I better get with the program!

  10. Would love to try this! You are so adventuresome and daring! I don't now I could challenge myself this way!

  11. I've used lavender in baking but I never thought of trying it in cooking. This recipe looks wonderful!

  12. I would have never thought to pair shrimp and lavender but you totally pulled it off! I loved the pictures of the flowers flowing in the breeze.

  13. Che bella l'idea dello stecchino di lavanda, e bello anche il tuo blog grazie ciao :)

  14. I've never been fond of the flavor of lavendar but think that your idea to use the stems as skewers is a very interesting idea. I'm looking forward to more lavendar recipes. I may have been missing something great here.

  15. Great idea for using the lavender, would never have thought of using it in this way.
    Happy Birthday!! Hope you have a lovely day.

  16. What a fun challenge! Lavender grows really well here, and I have a fairly big plant in a container. Using the stems is a great idea!

  17. lavender skewers = brilliant. really clever, val!

  18. I had given up on using my lavender - just no idea.
    I think lavender skewered shrimp will go beautifully with my tomato tart! Thanks for dinner.

  19. It looks like you are using a lot of lavender recently! :) I must admit I'm not so brave... tried it once on apricot dessert and wasn't bad but I think I'm would be afraid to taste savoury dish with addition of lavender...


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