The theme for the Recipe Redux challenge this month is such a fun one: Floral Flavors. And one that brings back great memories. Once upon a time, I had a personal chef and small catering business. The first wedding I catered, the couple wanted a lavender theme for their intimate backyard wedding, and so I created a tasting menu with a hint of lavender in each dish. The first course I served—a lavender goat cheese tart with lavender raspberry salad—is perfect for early summer, and one I still make often.
Just be cautious when cooking with lavender, as the strong taste and smell can overwhelm a dish. A little goes a long way.
Enjoy, preferably with someone you love!
Herbed Goat Cheese Tart with Lavender Raspberry Salad
1 puff pastry, thawed
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon culinary lavender, crushed to a powder
3 sprigs thyme, leaves only, chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
4 ounces goat cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Add butter and oil to skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until softened, but not brown, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, salt, lavender and thyme. Crumble goat cheese into custard mixture. Add cooled leeks and fold into mixture.
Place the thawed puff pastry on a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the puff pastry to about 1/4" thickness. Using a sharp knife, cut the puff pastry into 12 even squares. Take a regular 12-hole muffin tin and place squares of pastry into each hole, pressing gently to form a cup.
Fill the puff pastry cups with the custard filling. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until the pastry cups are puffed and golden brown and the filling is set. Serve immediately with Lavender-Raspberry salad, recipe follows.
2 pints fresh raspberries
¼ teaspoon culinary lavender, crushed to a powder
4 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
6 cups mixed garden greens
To a blender, add about 4 fresh raspberries, lavender, champagne vinegar, honey, oil, salt and pepper. Blend until emulsified and taste for seasoning. Adjust ingredients if necessary. Balance will depend upon sweetness of raspberries and strength of lavender. Toss greens with ½ of the vinaigrette, reserving remaining vinaigrette to drizzle on the plate as a garnish or to serve as extra dressing at the table. Top salad with remaining raspberries.