If you're buying herbs to plant in your garden, don't forget about lavender. Its aroma-therapeutical flowers are very popular in a holistic lifestyle. They are used in teas, baking and many other applications around the house.
But right now, there are no lavender blue flowers yet. Did you know that you can use the greens as well? I didn't until I planted lavender in my garden next to almost identically looking rosemary hence accidentally using lavender leaves instead of rosemary in a recipe. I frantically went on the internet and started researching about eating lavender green… It turned out you can use them anywhere you would use rosemary!
That is exactly what I did this time. Since rosemary goes good with lamb, I figured lavender would, too. In my humble opinion, it tasted even better!
And since we're talking about meat kebabs, which, back in the home country we call Shashlik, let me share few secrets from master meat kebab chef—my dad:
- leg of lamb meat is the best cut to use
- never cut meat smaller than 2˝
- thread the meat tightly on the skewers
- use the flat skewers—not round—they better hold meat in place
- if meat isn't fat, add some extra virgin olive oil
- do not marinade meat for too long, for it becomes tough when cooked
- do not cook meat well done but rather medium well and then let it rest before serving to collect the juices back
Lavender Lamb Shish Kebabs
Makes 8 1/4 lb servings
1 handful lavender leaves (reserve the stems for rice)
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon black peppercorn
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 lb lamb (leg meat), cut into 2˝ cubes
1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a mortar and crush them with a pestle
2. Add olive oil and mix the marinade well
3. Pour marinade over meat, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Preheat gas grill to 300°—400° F (Grill) degrees
5. Thread meat on skewers (makes about 4). Cook kabobs for about 15 minutes on one side, until the outside is brown and the meat comes off the grill easily, flip and cook for another 20 minutes
6. Line a serving pan with pita bread and place hot kabob on it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
7. Enjoy with a cup of white rice cooked with lavender stems, or served with a fresh salad on a side.
Lavender green dilly, dilly… that's all you need for now while you're waiting for the lavender blue to bloom!