It’s pretty darn exciting around here in the middle of July. That’s because every July the Bennett Crew attends the annual Lavender Festival in Sequim, Washington. If you love lavender, Sequim is the place to be, especially when the lavender is ready for harvest.
Becoming more popular these days, you’ll often find the aromatic scent of lavender in rich creams and lotions, shampoos, soaps, bath oils and salts. Call me crazy, but I love the taste of lavender just as much as the smell. Lavender actually tastes much like it smells and can beautifully enhance the flavor of many foods.
I use lavender in shortbread cookies, in whipping cream to top lemon pie, mixed with French herbs and Dijon mustard to season whole roasted chicken, and of course in a delicious chicken salad.
This salad has a unique combination of flavors that will pleasantly surprise your palate. Apricot and Lavender Chicken Salad makes lovely little tea sandwiches, or large picnic sized sandwiches on artisan bread. You can also serve at a brunch on top of mixed greens that have been tossed in a citrus vinaigrette. The possibilities for this delicious salad are endless.
3 cups cooked chicken, finely diced
3 tablespoons apricot preserves
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons dried lavender buds
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh grated black pepper
¾ – 1 cup dried Turkish apricots, finely diced
½ cup toasted chopped pecans (optional)
Mix together the preserves, mayonnaise and yogurt. In a spice mill or coffee mill, grind the lavender and salt together until the lavender is finely ground. If you can’t get the lavender buds to grind down sufficiently, grind them with a mortar and pestle.
Mix together the chicken, preserves mixture, lavender salt, dried apricots and pecans. Season with fresh pepper to taste, and additional salt if needed.
Add additional mayonnaise or plain yogurt if you prefer a wetter chicken salad.
Serve as tea sandwiches on your favorite bread or as picnic sandwiches on artisan French bread slices.
Or serve as a salad over fresh greens tossed in a light citrus vinaigrette. Top with fresh apricot slices and additional toasted pecans.