Hi everyone, Hope you're having a nice week so far! It's Lauren from Perpetually Chic, dropping in today with a recipe I created to showcase my new favorite ingredient: Lavender. If you don't have lavender growing in your garden or available at your farmers' market, not to worry. You can find dried culinary lavender in the spice section at any good grocery store.
I know what you may be thinking--I love the scent of lavender in aromatherapy, soaps and candles, but in my food? Yes! When used in the right quantity, lavender lends an amazingly subtle (not overpowering at all) floral flavor to cocktails, lemonade, marinade and more.
This salad combines grilled chicken and polenta with sweet blackberries and peaches--a good combo on its own, but really great with lavender weaved into the marinade and dressing. Read on for the details...
Make it ahead tip: Marinate the chicken overnight to let the flavors soak in, and cook and refrigerate the polenta for up to a day until you're ready to grill.
Blackberry, Polenta & Chicken Salad with Lavender Vinaigrette:
For the Chicken Marinade
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon lavender buds (I used fresh, but you can also substitute dried)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
For the Vinaigrette:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lavender buds, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Drizzle of lavender simple syrup, to taste
For the Salad
- 2 marinated chicken breasts, grilled
- 1 firm but ripe peach, diced
- A dozen blackberries
- Grilled polenta rounds
- Leafy lettuce (I love red romaine)
- To make the marinade, combine all ingredients in a plastic bag. Score the chicken breasts, drop into the bag and submerge in marinade. Let sit for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. It's even better if you make it the day ahead and let the chicken sit overnight.
- To make the polenta, bring three cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt to a boil in a small pot. Reduce heat and slowly whisk in 1.5 cups of cornmeal. Keep whisking while the mixture thickens, just a few minutes. Spray a 9-inch pan and then pour the hot, thickened polenta into the pan. Let cool, about 30 minutes. (This can also be made ahead.)
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
- Preheat a grill, then grill the marinated chicken breasts. Let the chicken rest 5 minutes, then slice.
- Cut the set polenta into pie slices or circles using a cookie cutter. Lightly brush each side with olive oil, then grill until hot and slightly charred, about 3 minutes per side.
- Create your salad by layering the lettuce, chicken, blackberries and peaches on a plate. Serve the polenta on the side, or cut it into bite-sized pieces and top directly on the salad.
- Drizzle the lavender dressing over everything. I added a few lavender sprigs just for pretty presentation!
-photos & images by Lauren Craig